Allstate Sugar Bowl and National Football Foundation Honor Scholar-Athletes

Allstate Sugar Bowl and National Football Foundation Honor Scholar-Athletes

NEW ORLEANS (April 3, 2018) – The Allstate Sugar Bowl Chapter of the National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame held its 2018 Awards Luncheon on Tuesday afternoon in the St. Charles Club Room at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The highlight of the event was the announcement of six winners of college scholarships from the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

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Allstate Sugar Bowl Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame

Thirty-six local high school football players were recognized for their achievements in the classroom and on the football field. The honorees were chosen from a group of nominated scholar athletes from the New Orleans area. Archie Manning, the national chairman of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, recognized each of the 36 student athletes at the event. From that group of 36, six were selected to receive Allstate Sugar Bowl Scholarships for $10,000 each. The scholarship winners were chosen based on essays submitted after being notified of their selection as scholar-athletes.

The six scholarship winners were Blake Baird (Pearl River High School), Cameron Hammers (Pope John Paul II Catholic High School), Charles Hayward (West Jefferson High School), Christopher Rabensteiner (Archbishop Hannan High School), Aaron Saulino (Fisher High School) and Zachary Wiedow (East Jefferson High School). Rod West, the President of the Sugar Bowl Committee, recapped their accomplishments and referenced their winning essays prior to presenting each scholarship winner with a commemorative check.

Baird battled injuries through much of his football career, but he still was selected as a team captain for his leadership role on the team. In the classroom, he earned a 3.9 grade-point average and was selected as Most Likely to Succeed. He also excelled in the community; taking part in a unique Mardi Gras project to honor Wounded Warriors. While he has much to highlight about himself, he wrote in his essay about his mother’s hard work and how this scholarship would be a way to reward her for her sacrifices. He will attend Southeastern Louisiana in the fall.

Hammers has faced a variety of challenges during his young life. However, he wrote in his essay of a life philosophy to never give up and never take the easy way out. He has also taken advantage of his ability to excel in sports while also sustaining academic excellence. He was a four-year letterman in football, earning all-district honors and being selected as his team’s offensive MVP while also competing in powerlifting and track and field. In addition, he was a member of the National Honor Society and represented his school on the Quiz Bowl team. He will be attending Ole Miss this fall with a plan to become a nuclear pharmacist.

Hayward wrote about the sacrifices his mother had to make after his father suffered a brain aneurysm, which eventually led to him passing away. He wrote about putting all of his blood, sweat and tears into his dreams and always striving to be the best he can be. His efforts earned him a spot on the school honor roll while he also became a football team captain and a three-year starter. He also wrote about a possible scholarship giving him an opportunity to give back to his mother while honoring his father’s memory. Hayward is headed to Nicholls State University this fall.

Rabensteiner was a four-sport athlete, lettering in football, baseball, wrestling and track. In football, he was a two-time team captain and honorable mention all-state. In the classroom, he maintained a 4.35 grade-point average and was selected for the National Honor Society. And in the community, he was very active – he has given his time to many volunteer programs, including the Touch a Truck Foundation, the Children’s Museum, Christwood Nursing Home and the Cleft for a Cause program. He wrote about wanting to be a multi-faceted student and he definitely achieved that goal, but he also wrote about deserving a scholarship not just for what he HAS done, but for what he WILL do. He plans to major in chemical engineering at LSU this fall.

Saulino was a four-year letterman and a team captain for his football team. He focused his essay on the efforts of his mother who worked tirelessly to raise five children. While finances were challenging at times, his mother always supported her children’s dreams, telling them that nothing can stand in the way of their dreams if they stay focused. Saulino’s focus helped him become an honor student while excelling on the football field; he plans on studying civil engineering while playing football this fall at Louisiana College.

Wiedow has experienced unimaginable challenges during his young life. After essentially becoming homeless as a young boy in Las Vegas, he and his siblings were welcomed by relatives in New Orleans; though financial challenges were still prominent in the now-expanded family. Despite much uncertainty in his life, he maintained a 3.8 grade-point average; he played football and ran track; and he completed over 200 hours of community service. Wiedow wrote about God putting him in these situations to see if he could learn from them – and then he closed his essay proving that he has learned as he wrote that he hopes his life experiences can show others that “if you put your mind to it, there is nothing that can stop you.” He will attend Belhaven University this fall.

In addition to the high school honorees, two local men were recognized for their contributions to the community and the sport of football.

Alan Freeman, SMG’s general manager for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, was presented with the Contributions to Amateur Football Award, which is given annually to an individual for his or her effort to promote the game, preserve its history and ensure its future. Since moving to New Orleans with SMG in 2007, Freeman has become a prominent figure on the amateur football scene. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome hosts the Allstate Sugar Bowl as well as the Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA Football Championships each year. The Sugar Bowl is recognized as one of the top collegiate football games in the country and has doubled as a College Football Playoff Semifinal twice in the last four years, while the LHSAA Championships see nine state titles decided over a three-day span in early December. In addition, the facility will be the host venue for the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship.

Former New Orleans Saints standout Steve Gleason was presented with the Distinguished American Award, which is presented each year to an individual who has set the standard for a life of service to the community and has made a significant contribution to the betterment of amateur football. Gleason played for the Saints from 2000-2008 and will always be remembered for his blocked punt against the Falcons on the night the Superdome reopened for after Hurricane Katrina. In January 2011, Steve was diagnosed with ALS, considered a terminal neuromuscular disease. Beyond his faith that there is a solution for healing, it is his mission to show that patients can not only live but thrive after this diagnosis. In doing so, he hopes to inspire others to do the same. With that in mind, Steve and his wife, Michel, formed “Team Gleason” to help him accomplish those goals and more. When Steve was diagnosed, he famously said there will be “No White Flags”. This has become the Team Gleason mantra. No goal is more important to Steve and Michel than finding a solution for ALS, so they can share many, many years together parenting their young son, Rivers.

The New Orleans Chapter of the National Football Foundation was established in 1971. The Sugar Bowl took over sponsorship of the chapter in 2000.


2018 National Football Foundation Scholar Athletes (alphabetical by high school):

Christopher Rabensteiner (Archbishop Hannan High School)
Academic Achievements: Principal’s Honor Roll (4 years), National Honor Society (3 years). Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman, two-time team captain, Co-Defensive MVP, second team all-district linebacker, first team all-district athlete, St. Tammany All Parish, NOLA.com All Metro finalist, Lousiana Sports Writers Association All-State Honorable Mention, WGNO Scholar Athlete, Chevron Scholar Athlete of the week, LHSAA Play it Forward, Sportsman Award winner. Extracurricular Activities: Student Coucil (2 years); Altar Boy; Service projects with Touch a Truck Foundation, Christwood Nursing Home, Cleft for a Cause Foundation, Children’s Museum, and the Louisiana Flood Relief Program. Name of College Attending: Louisiana State University.

Jacob Fury (Archbishop Rummel High School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll, Torch Award (Highest GPA), ranked 4th in senior class, Class 5-A Academic Football Team. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman and starter at defensive end; also lettered in baseball for three years. Extracurricular Activities: Big Brothers and Eucharistic Minister. Name of College Attending: Louisiana State University

Ryan Taix (Archbishop Shaw High School)
Academic Achievements: High Honors; Scholarship offers to Millsaps, Rhodes, and Cornell. Athletic Achievements: Member of the football team for five years; had four interceptions; Senior Leadership award. Extracurricular Activities: Vice President of Peer Ministry, President of Student Ambassadors, Parliamentatian of Student Government. Name of College Attending: Will play football for Millsaps in the fall.

Ethan Nicklow (Benjamin Franklin High School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll all four years; National Honor Society; Yale Book award for excellence. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman and starter; two-time team captain; Chevron Scholar-Athlete of the Week. Extracurricular Activities: Volunteered at a local hospital; tutor in science and math. Name of College Attending: Undecided.

Alexander Genois (Brother Martin High School)
Academic Achievements: Brother Martin Honors Program, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Brother Martin Board of Directors Academic Scholarship. Athletic Achievements: Four years of varsity football and a two-year letterman; Tough Award (coaches selection); LHSAA All-Academic selection; also lettered in Track & Field in the shot put. Extracurricular Activities: Student Ambassadors (executive board), Student Ministry Team, Crusaders for Life, Minister of Holy Communion, Student Recruiting Team, Liturgical Planning Committee, CYO, YMCA (Lifeguard), National WWII Museum (volunteer), Business Owner: Tranquility Pool Service, LLC. Name of College Attending: Louisiana State University.

Erick Lassair (Brother Martin High School)
Academic Achievements: National Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, All-Academic Team, six-year Alpha Honor Roll, Academic Letterman, 2017 LEAP/Unite Outstanding Student. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman and starter; two years on the Leadership Council; All-District, All-Metro, Clarion Herald Elite Team, 2016 Brother Martin Team Award, 2017 Brother Martin Compete Award, Tulane Athlete of the Week. Extracurricular Activities: Church Youth Usher. Name of College Attending: Undecided.

Adam Hedrick (De La Salle High School)
Academic Achievements: Gold (Highest) Honor Roll every semester; National Honor Society; Course Awards for student of the year twice; Young Leader Scholarship from Rochester University. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman; Scholar Athlete of the Week (football); Scholar Athlete of the Year for wrestling. Extracurricular Activities: Community clean-up project from Houston damage, Community clean-up project from Baton Rouge floods, Community service volunteer at fundraiser for Autism, Big Brother, Mu Alpha Theta, Quiz Bowl, Eco Club, Chess Club, Tutor. Name of College Attending: University of Tennessee.

Zachary Wiedow (East Jefferson High School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll for four years; Top 10-percent of class, Principals’ List, National Honor Society. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman and starter; team captain; Coaches Award; WWL-TV Player of the Week; also lettered in track, making the regional finals in the 4×100 relay twice. Extracurricular Activities: Fellowship of Christian Athletes; member of Hi-Y; Active in church activities; Honesty and Integrity Award; Sci-Fi Club; Photography Club. Name of College Attending: Belhaven College.

Lemar Johns, Jr. (Edna Karr High School)
Academic Achievements: National Honor Society; Presidential Honor Roll. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman and three-year starter; two-time team captain; two-time State Champion; All-District; All-Metro; All-State. Extracurricular Activities: Community service volunteer. Name of College Attending: University of Southern Mississippi.

Skyler Perry (Edna Karr High School)
Academic Achievements: Merit Honor Roll. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman; team captain; All-District; All-Metro; District Offensive MVP; All-State; Back-to-back 9-4A State Champion; MVP of State Championship game. Extracurricular Activities: Support sponsors with selling coupons to community, Church community service activities: clean streets and feeding the homeless. Name of College Attending: Will play football at Texas Wesleyan University.

Aaron Saulino (Fisher High School)
Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman; team captain; three-time all-district selection. Extracurricular Activities: St. Anthony CYO leader, St. Anthony teen leadership. Name of College Attending: Will play football this fall at Louisiana College.

Darnell Kennedy (Helen Cox High School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll, Scholarship offer to Southwest Texas College. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman; Team Captain; Outstanding Offensive Back Award. Extracurricular Activities: Blessed 26 Mentoring Program. Name of College Attending: Undecided.

Mikey Ricks (Holy Cross School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman; all-district; team’s top defensive lineman for two years; also lettered in baseball. Name of College Attending: Undecided.

James Poche (Isidore Newman)
Academic Achievements: Three-time Newman scholar (first honor roll); four-time List of Merit honoree. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman and starter; all-district, all-metro, second-team all-state, Monk Simons Award Winner (best back), led team with 1318 yards rushing, 22 touchdowns senior season (second highest total in past 25 years); also lettered in track for four years. Extracurricular Activities: Service trips to Eden house, Relay for Life, ARC NOLA Thanksgiving events for the mentally disabled, Independently organized food distribution to homeless, Created art for families affected by suicide. Name of College Attending: Tulane University.

Calder Schmidt (Isidore Newman)
Academic Achievements: Newman nominee UVA’s Jefferson scholarship; Francis T Dyer Biology Award; Cum Laude Society; Honor Roll every semester. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman and starter; all-district defensive back, Max Preps/marine corps national athlete of the week; Friday Night football Scholar Athlete of the week; also a three-year starter and team captain in baseball. Extracurricular Activities: Newman Sports Camp counselor; ARC member (community run organization for adults with mental/physical disabilities), Green Club (Newman organization to promote environmental change), Youth representative for board of elders, Class President (9th-12th), Homecoming King. Name of College Attending: Undecided. 

Matthew Frischhertz (Jesuit High School)
Academic Achievements: National Honor Society, Honor Roll. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman; team captain; two-year starter; WGNO Scholar Athlete of the Week; also lettered in baseball. Extracurricular Activities: Krewe de Camp, Jesuit football camp counselor, Peer Support, Campus Ministry, Classic Rock Club, Intramural Basketball, Special Olympics, job at Frischhertz Electric. Name of College Attending: Undecided. 

Michael Gautier (Lakeshore High School)
Academic Achievements: Four Years on Honor Roll, National Honor Society, Ambassadors Club. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman and starter; team captain; two-time all-state returner; First Team All-District Cornerback and Returner; 2017 Leadership Award. Extracurricular Activities: FCA, Consistently held same job throughout high school. Name of College Attending: Undecided.

Cody Orvin (Lakeshore High School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll for four years; National Honor Society. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman; two-year starter; first-team all-district linebacker; 2017 Coaches Award; 2017 Academic All-State Team. Extracurricular Activities: FCA. Name of College Attending: Louisiana State University.

Jalen Willis (Lakeshore High School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll for four years. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman and starter; team captain; Honorable Mention All State; First Team All District Wide Receiver; 2017 Team MVP; 2017 All-Metro Team. Extracurricular Activities: FCA. Name of College Attending: Will play football this fall at Northwestern State.

Ari Broussard (Lusher Charter School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll, National Honor Society. Athletic Achievements: Five-year letterman; three-year starter; team captain; two-time all-district running back; Offensive MVP; Iron Man of the Year; honorable mention all-state; also lettered in track for two years; two-time state finalist in the shot put. Extracurricular Activities: Church group. Name of College Attending: Undecided.

Lonnie Johnson (L.W. Higgins High School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll; Principal’s List; National Honor Society. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman and starter; first-team all-district athlete. Name of College Attending: Will play football at Independence Community College.

Cody Campbell (Metairie Park Country Day)
Academic Achievements: National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta. Athletic Achievements: Two-year letterman and starter on offense and defense; team captain; first-team all-district (DE); first-team all-metro (DE), honorable mention all-state. Extracurricular Activities: History Club, Politics Club, Investment Club, Careers Club, Film Club, Barkus volunteer, Zurich Classic Volunteer, Relay for Life. Name of College Attending: Tulane University.

Khalil Fleming (Northshore High School)
Academic Achievements:  A&B Honor Roll every year since grade school; Student of the Year. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman; team captain; first-team all-district; Coaches Award; fastest 40-yard time; fastest pro-shuttle time. Extracurricular Activities: FCA, Church Youth Assistant. Name of College Attending: Will play football at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Walter Harris III (Northshore High School)
Academic Achievements: Academic Honor Roll. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman; two-time team captain; first-team all-district; two-time team offensive MVP. Extracurricular Activities: FCA, Student Ambassadors. Name of College Attending: Will play football at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Jeremiah McDonald (Northshore High School)
Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman; two-time all-district selection; team MVP; all-metro. Name of College Attending: Has already enrolled at Northwestern University in Illinois and will play football there this fall.

Blake Baird (Pearl River High School)
Academic Achievements: Scholar Award for Highest GPA on football team; Academic Rebel; Most Likely to Succeed in Senior Class; Honor Roll (4 years); National Honor Society; Beta Club; Mu Alpha Theta; Principal’s Award. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman; team captain; also lettered for three years in powerlifting; three-time all-state selection in powerlifting. Extracurricular Activities: Boys’ State; Mr. Pearl River High; Krewe of Dionysius Volunteer and Member; Volunteer and Member of Open Arms Church. Name of College Attending: Southeastern Louisiana University.

Cameron Hammers (Pope John Paul II High School)
Academic Achievements: National Honor Society. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman and three-year starter; all-district; Offensive MVP; also lettered for three years in powerlifting. Extracurricular Activities: Vacation Bible School; Feeding the Homeless. Name of College Attending: Ole Miss.

Joshua Philips (Pope John Paul II High School)
Academic Achievements: National Honor Society, Student Ambassadors. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman and four-year starter; two-time all-district; also lettered in basketball for three years and baseball for one year. Name of College Attending: Undecided.

Brandon Silva (Riverdale High School)
Academic Achievements: “A” Honor Roll, Harvard Young Engineering and Scientist Scholarship Finalist. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman and four-year starter; team captain; first-team all-district; Offensive Line Captain; Jefferson Parish All Star. Extracurricular Activities: Track and Field Coach, Church Community Service. Name of College Attending: Nicholls State University.

Jonathan Brown (St. Augustine High School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll; National Honor Society. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman; team captain; all-district. Extracurricular Activities: Church Youth Group; Knights of Peter Claver; Big Brother; Tutor. Name of College Attending: LSU or Morehouse.

John Hurley (St. Martin’s Episcopal School)
Academic Achievements: National Honor Society. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman; team captain; All-District First Team; also lettered in basketball, track and field, volleyball and tennis; earned team MVP honors in basketball. Extracurricular Activities: Class Treasurer. Name of College Attending: LSU

Noah Seiden (St. Paul’s School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll for five years; National Honor Society; Mu Alpha Thera Math Honor Society. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman; team captain; first-team all-district; all-parish; all-metro; honorable mention all-state; ranks third all-time in sacks at St. Paul’s. Extracurricular Activities: Key Club; Habitat for Humanity; Eucharistic Minister; Mock Trial Team; Teen Court. Name of College Attending: Will play football at Tulane in the fall.

Jerry “L.J.” Leonard (Salmen High School)
Academic Achievements: National Honor Society, School Honor Roll 3.5 GPA. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman; all-state; all-district, all-metro as a quarterback and a punter; also earned all-state honors in soccer and lettered in track and field and tennis. Name of College Attending: Will play football at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Andrew Parker (Sophie B. Wright Charter School)
Academic Achievements: Ranks second in a class of 100; Principal’s Honor Roll since the 9th grade; National Honor Society. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman at linebacker and running back; all-state selection; all-district; recorded 107 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles; also lettered in track and field. Extracurricular Activities: FCA, Dual Enrollment and Peer mentor. Name of College Attending: Will play football at the University of Arkansas in the fall.

Arlen Williams (Thomas Jefferson High School)
Academic Achievements: Honor Roll for all four years. Athletic Achievements: Three-year letterman; team captain; all-district; also lettered for three years in basketball and track and field; all-district in basketball; team Defensive MVP in basketball. Name of College Attending: Undecided.

Charles Hayward (West Jefferson High School)
Academic Achievements: A/B Honor Roll. Athletic Achievements: Four-year letterman; three-year starter; team captain; all-district linebacker; also lettered in track and field. Extracurricular Activities: Volunteer for the Superdome; Volunteer for Crescent City Marathon. Name of College Attending: Nicholls State University.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 93 Hall of Fame players, 49 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 84-year history. The 85th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring top teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, will be played on January 1, 2019. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade.

-AllstateSugarBowl.org-

2018-04-17T10:50:20+00:00