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, each voter is asked to submit three nominations in each of the three categories. After the nominations are received, the three individuals receiving the most nominations in each category become the finalists for the awards. At the annual Lou Groza Awards banquet in December the top three finalists 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.
2013 PALM BEACH COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL PLAYER OF THE YEAR WINNER
Coming into the season as one of the top receiving recruits in the nation, Travis Rudolph didn’t let the target on his back keep him out of the endzone. The senior wide receiver garnered national attention as an Under Armour All-American. He was a standout on a loaded Newman offense filled with talented players. With the spotlight shining on him and opposing coaches scheming to stop him, Rudolph still put together the area’s most productive season for a receiver, helping the Crusaders to a District 7-3A Championship, the program’s first district title since 2004. Travis made 51 receptions for 1,121 yards and a school-record 15 touchdowns. Two games into the season, he had already racked up 234 yards and 4 touchdowns, but Newman was still winless and trailed going into the 4th quarter of game #3. That’s when Rudolph came through for the Crusaders, hauling in a pair of late touchdowns in a 24-21 win. The late flurry led into tremendous performances in the two following games, first going off for 263 yards and three TDs on seven catches and then needing just four catches to rack up 123 yards and a score. Against some of the toughest competition of the year, on the road against American Heritage, he caught nine balls for 208 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Rudolph finished the season ranked by ESPN as the #7 wide receiver in the nation and 61st rated player at any position in the Class of 2014.
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
2013 PALM BEACH COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL PLACE-KICKER OF THE YEAR WINNER
Paul Schumacher - The King's Academy
No kicker in Palm Beach County showed a bigger leg this season than Paul Schumacher, with four of his seven field goals coming from more than 40 yards out, including a successful 50-yard attempt, the longest field goal in The King’s Academy history. Schumacher’s 7-for-10 season started off with a two field goal game in which his 27 and 43 yard field goals provided the difference in the Lions’ 13-10 win over Village Academy. His 29-yard field goal against Clewiston also ended up being the difference, with the Lions ultimately winning 17-14. The senior converted 97% of his extra point attempts and also served as the team’s punter, playing a vital special teams role in The King’s Academy’s 6-3 season.
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.
2013 SAM BUDNYK COACH OF THE YEAR WINNER
Alphonso Moran - West Boca High School
The outlook wasn’t great when Alphonso Moran took over as head coach at West Boca in June. Becoming just the second coach in program history, he was set to lead a group that had only 12 seniors returning to a team that went 2-7 in one of the area’s toughest districts. Six months later, Coach Moran’s Bulls went 7-3 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2010. A former defensive tackle at Boca High and Kansas State University, Coach Moran led a defensive overhaul that saw the Bulls allow half as many points, going from more than 30 per game last season to just over 15. On offense, he brought in a new coordinator who balanced the attack and picked up an average of nearly two more touchdowns per game. On both sides of the ball – and in the record books – Coach Moran led one of the most impressive turnarounds in Palm Beach County football.
2013 PALM BEACH COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL TEAM OF THE YEAR WINNER
William T. Dwyer
William T. Dwyer High School has been one of Palm Beach County's most successful football programs for the past 15 years. In 2013, Dwyer continued its winning tradition and made school history. The Panthers, led by legendary coach Jack Daniels, finished the regular season with an unprecedented 10-0 record and the District 13-7A title. Dwyer navigated through the regular season with impressive wins, culminating with a 41-17 victory over West Boca that clinched the program’s first unbeaten season since 2004 and the first time any Dwyer team has finished 10-0 in the regular season. The Panthers dominated their opponents throughout the season and outscored the competition by a combined total of 436 to 60. The Panthers offense was electrifying, averaging 44 points per game and accumulating more than 3,400 yards of total offense during the regular season. Junior quarterback Daniel Parr passed for 1,679 yards and an incredible 29 touchdowns, spreading the ball between perhaps the nation’s most talented receiving trio in Johnnie Dixon, Ezra Saffold and Clint Stephens. The Panthers secret weapon was running back Alonzo Smith, who emerged as one of the county’s top running backs with an 865 yard, 9 touchdown season. Dwyer’s defense was one of the best in the state, allowing a mere 6 points per game and recording 3 shutouts, including an impressive 35-0 win over Glades Central and 33-0 triumph over Palm Beach Gardens, a pair of teams that went on to make the playoffs. Already a football dynasty in Palm Beach County, Dwyer’s 2013 season may have been its best yet. They are the William T. Dwyer Panthers.
Groza Committee Chair, Bill Davis welcomes local awards candidates during 2007 Banquet.