Palm Beach County Sports Commission Presents

Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award

Palm Beach Sports

As part of the Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Awards program, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission assembles a panel of Palm Beach County High School football coaches and select members of the local media to select the winners of three awards given out for excellence in Palm Beach County high school football:

Near the end of the season, ESPN West Palm, who’s broadcast team covers the local football program all season, provides the nominees for each award. At the annual Lou Groza Awards banquet in December the top three finalists in each category are recognized and the winner is announced.

The Palm Beach County Player of the Year Award is given out annually to the top prep football player in Palm Beach County. The award is open to players of all grade levels and school classifications.

 

2017 PALM BEACH COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL PLAYER OF THE YEAR


Jordan Travis - The Benjamin School

Palm Beach County’s top quarterback finishes his senior season by leading his team into the playoffs with both his arm and his legs, becoming a Player of the Year finalist before heading off to Louisville. It wasn’t long ago that people were using those words about future Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, but this time around they’re talking about Benjamin quarterback Jordan Travis. Just his throwing numbers alone would put him in Player of the Year conversation, completing 60.5% of his passes for nearly 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns. But add on to that his team-leading 732 rushing yards and 16 more scores on the ground and you start to understand the dominance Travis displayed game after game. He accounted for at least five touchdowns in more than half of Benjamin’s games. He averaged nearly 306 all-purpose yards per contest, and showed the versatility to get their either by mixing it up or focusing on just one aspect of his game. In a season-opening win at Glades Day, he threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more, racking up over 400 yards of offense. On the road at Calvary Christian, it was his arm doing the damage as Travis went 24-for-30 for 409 yards and 6 passing touchdowns. But in the season finale against King’s Academy, he ran for four scores and picked up more yards on the ground than in the air, going for nearly 150 yards in one of three 100-yard rushing games he had this year. It’s also where he showed off his ability as a receiver, hauling in a 62-yard touchdown on a game-opening trick play that started off an eventual 33-21 win, ending Lions’ 20-game unbeaten streak. The victory propelled Benjamin into the FHSAA playoffs once more and capped a phenomenal career for Jordan Travis.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
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Tyler Williams
Ahmmon Richards
Lamar Jackson
Travis Rudolph
Kelvin Taylor
Will Likely
Jacoby Brissett
Matt Elam
Matt Elam
Star Jackson
Brandon Pendergrass
Emanuel Cook
Antone Smith
Omar Haugabook
Ron Williams
Curtis Holley
Danny Embick
Abram Elam
Anquan Boldin
Brad Banks
Micah Mays
LaFann Williams
Johnny Rutledge
Fred Taylor
Andre Anderson
Oxbridge Academy
Wellington
Boynton Beach
Cardinal Newman
Glades Day School
Glades Central
William T. Dwyer
William T. Dwyer
William T. Dwyer
Lake Worth 
Royal Palm Beach
Palm Beach Gardens
Pahokee 
Glades Central
American Heritage
Glades Central 
William T. Dwyer
Cardinal Newman
Pahokee
Glades Central
Palm Beach Lakes
Pahokee
Glades Central
Glades Central
Suncoast

 

 

Palm Beach County Place Kicker of the Year

The Palm Beach County Place-Kicker of the Year Award is given out annually to the top prep football place-kicker in Palm Beach County. The award is open to players of all grade levels and school classifications

2017 PALM BEACH COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL PLACE-KICKER OF THE YEAR 
 

Christian Rizo - Forest Hill High School

 

Forest Hill’s dream season required every one of its 35 players to bring their best every play and every game. Each win was momentum for the next, building the confidence of a team that played for this year, not concerned with the prior 30 years. So if any team needed to be able to rely on its kicking game to keep momentum, it was the Falcons. Senior kicker Christian Rizzo stepped up and provided that safety net, going 26-for-29 on extra point attempts to provide valuable breathing room for a Forest Hill team that engaged in its fair share of shootouts. He added one field goal, a 33 yarder, but his contributions to the Falcons went far beyond just the stat sheet. 

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
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Logan Robinson
Ezekiel Hernandez

Alex Ng
Paul Schumacher
Cameron Golob
Bobby Puyol
David Bicknell
Cody Parkey
Brendan Gibbons,Patrick O'Donnell
Daniel Riddle
Sal DiMauro
Matt Bosher
Matt Bosher
Tony Ciaravino
Brian Monroe
Brian Monroe
Bryan Bobo
Will Rhody
John Anderson
Taylor Northrop
David Pavich
Ryan Romano
Brandon Kornblue
Sean Holohan
Eric Meng

Wellington
Pahokee 
Wellington
The King's Academy
Palm Beach Central
William T. Dwyer
Boca Raton
Jupiter Community 
William T. Dwyer
Boca Raton 
Jupiter
Jupiter 
Boca Raton 
Palm Beach Gardens
Palm Beach Gardens
William T. Dwyer
Benjamin
Pope John Paul II
William T. Dwyer
Boca Raton
Cardinal Newman
Boca Raton
Spanish River
Jupiter

 

 

 

Sam Budnyk Coach of the Year

The Sam Budnyk Coach of the Year Award is given out annually to the top prep football coach in Palm Beach County. The award is named in honor of legendary coach Sam Budnyk, head football coach at Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, FL.

2017 SAM BUDNYK COACH OF THE YEAR
 

Jude Blessington - Forest Hill High School

 

It’s difficult to put Jude Blessington’s turnaround at Forest Hill into context without first going through just how low things had been for the program. Coming into this season, the Falcons hadn’t made the playoffs since 1996. They had just one winning season since 1986, coming in Blessington’s second season. Over the last three decades, they suffered two different multi-season losing streaks, dropping 37 and 43 straight games. From 1999 through 2012 – which just happens to be the year before bringing in coach Blessington – the program won seven games total. So yes, an 8-1 season and a trip to the playoffs is a major accomplishment at Forest Hill. But don’t overlook the work he did to make this season specifically a success. His dynamic rushing attack confused defenses with movement and options on nearly every play, while his defenses stepped up with fourth down stops and late-game turnovers in each of their pivotal final three games to ensure the program’s first playoff berth in over 20 years. 

 

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992

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Brian Dodds
T.J. Jackson
Tom Abel
Alphonso Moran
Chris Bean
Willie Bueno
Matt Dickmann
Jack Daniels
Jack Daniels
Brian Dobbs
Eric Patterson
Kevin Fleury
Pete Walker
Larry Coffey
Leroy Foster
Brian Dodds
Tim Tharp
Verryl Floyd
Joe Marx
Milton Watson
Bob Bolinder
Sam Budnyk
Jay Minton
Rick Casko
Ron Ream
Park Vista
Atlantic
Wellington 
West Boca
Atlantic 
Royal Palm Beach
Seminole Ridge 
William T. Dwyer
William T. Dwyer
Park Vista 
Royal Palm Beach
Palm Beach Gardens
The King's Academy
Glades Central
Pahokee
Boca Raton
Palm Beach Gardens
Atlantic
Pahokee
Glades Central
Palm Beach Lakes
Cardinal Newman
Boca Raton
Glades Central
Benjamin

 

 

2017 PALM BEACH COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL TEAM OF THE YEAR 
 

Forest Hill High School

 

For virtually any team in Palm Beach County, an 8-1 season and a trip to the playoffs would be cause for celebration, but nowhere could it have meant as much as it did to Forest Hill. Coach of the Year finalist Jude Blessington continued the Falcons’ incredible turnaround, leading the program to just its third playoff berth ever, and the first since 1996. The charge into the playoffs was led by one of the most dynamic ground games in recent memory. Utilizing shifts, options, fakes and misdirection, the Falcons carved up defenses, creating big play opportunities for the running back duo of sophomore Bry’yon Jones and junior Chaz Eaton along with junior quarterback Darius McClendon. The run-first (and -second, and -third) offense ripped off long touchdowns again and again, topping 20 points in all but one game, including five with at least 30 points. For many teams, such a run-heavy offense would need plenty of rest between possessions. But with only 35 players, many Falcons had to excel on both sides of the ball. For some, like standout Jordon Earle, that meant protecting the ballcarriers as a guard and then getting after them as a defensive tackle. For others, like Jones and McClendon, it means playing every snap in some games. Jones sealed Forest Hill’s nailbiting 6-0 district win over Palm Beach Lakes with a pick deep in Falcons territory, while McClendon’s two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, were pivotal to clinching their playoff spot with a 28-21 over Spanish River. Forest Hill players had to be so versatile that Eaton, in addition to starring at running back and tracking down rushers as a linebacker, was the team’s starting punter as well. It’s the type of scenario that might have drained other teams after a few games, but with Blessington’s preparation and his players’ dedication, Forest Hill turned it into the program’s best season in more than three decades.

 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2016 - Park Vista
2015 - Atlantic
2014 - Wellington
2013 - William T. Dwyer
2012 - American Heritage
2011 - Glades Central
2010 - William T. Dwyer
 

Groza Committee Chair, Bill Davis welcomes local awards candidates during 2007 Banquet.

 

 

Palm Beach County Sports Commission

Contact Us:
(561) 233-3180
Palm Beach County Sports Commission

2195 Southern Blvd.
Suite 550
West Palm Beach, FL 33406
Fax: (561) 233-3125

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Copyright © 2017 Palm Beach County Sports Commission