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Hill, Curtis, top students receive awards at Sugar Bowl Luncheon

Elliott Hill and J.T. Curtis received prestigious honors at the annual Allstate Sugar Bowl National Football Foundation 2013 Scholar Athlete Awards Luncheon at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Tuesday.

Hill was honored with the Distinguished American Award. The President of Nike North America, Hill was the driving force behind a massive Nike effort to completely renovate Joe Brown Park in New Orleans East, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Hill was introduced and lauded by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Nike was joined by the Alllstate Sugar Bowl, the Brees Dream Foundation and the City of New Orleans to begin the renovation of Joe Brown Park in 2011. A state-of-the-art football field, Victory Field, is the primary addition as part of the renovation.

Curtis received the Contribution to Amateur Football award. Curtis most recently captured an unprecedented 25th state championship as John Curtis defeated Evangel 35-13 to win the Louisiana 2A title in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 8, 2012.

Curtis is one of only two coaches in United States prep football history to win over 500 games. His Patriots were rewarded with the title of national champion in 2012 by six different entities. Curtis joins his late father, Reverend John T. Curtis, Sr., as a recipient of the award. The elder Curtis received the award in 1995. Curtis, Jr. was introduced by former Contribution to Amateur Football award winner Bill Curl, who received the award in 2011.

Thirty-four student athletes, representing 26 schools in metro New Orleans, were honored as 2013 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes. The accomplishments of the group included 18 who have scored 25 or better on their ACT tests and 17 of whom have a grade point average of 4.0 or better. 22 were team captains.

Among the 34 honorees, four were chosen by the selection committee, based on their essays, accomplishments and needs for $10,000 scholarships each. Allstate Sugar Bowl President Jay Batt made the presentations.

Gabriel Onor, Jr. of Ben Franklin High School. Onor has a 4.29 GPA and was a four-year letterman in football and basketball for the Falcons.

Brody Taylor of De La Salle started every game for four seasons for the Cavaliers.

Austin Poche' of East Jefferson dealt with the adversity of his family moving five times in four years of high school before finishing at EJ. He was all-district three times for the Warriors.

Jordan Showalter of Holy Cross is a multi-sport star, an outstanding wrestler as well as a fine football player for the Tigers. In his essay, Showalter penned the line, "You can never conquer the mountain, you can only conquer yourself."

Michael Christovich of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Chairman, Ron Dilatush, Director of Membership for the National Football Foundation were on hand and spoke.

Ed Daniels of, WGNO (ABC-26) "Friday Night Football" and The Clarion Herald emceed the event, which has honored the best in our schools and community since 1971. Daniels received the Contribution to Amateur Football award in 2000.

The National Football Foundation donates $1 million in scholarships annually on a national basis and runs the College Football Hall of Fame, which is relocating from South Bend, Indiana to Atlanta, Georgia in 2014. The National Football Foundation has 120 chapters and is based in Irving, Texas.

As a previous recipient of the Contribution to Amateur Football award (2001), it was a pleasure to see the best of the best honored again. I have enjoyed the privilege of emceeing six of these events over the past 11 years and have been blessed to be part of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Media Selection Committee for 33 years (since 1980).

Here is a list of the Student-Athletes honored at the luncheon:

Thomas Harrison--Archbishop Hannan

Nicholas Pounds--Archbishop Hannan

Patrick Kliebert--Archbishop Rummel

Michael Kennedy--Archbishop Rummel

Gabriel Onor, Jr.--Ben Franklin

Daquan Frazier--Bonnabel

Ryan Hoefeld--Brother Martin

Sean Beckwith--Chalmette

Dylan T. Perez--Covington

Josh Ansardi--Covington

Brody Taylor--De La Salle

Sean D. Harry--East Jefferson

Austin J. Poche'--East Jefferson

Colinn Early--Edna Karr

Brandon Kent--Fontainebleau

Andrew Rosiere--Grace King

Nicholas Dale--Holy Cross

Jordan Showalter--Holy Cross

Peter Miller--Newman

Mitch Alexander--Jesuit

Zachary Creel--Jesuit

William Wall--Jesuit

Richard J. Allen, II--John Curtis Christian

Jude Bontemps--John Ehret

Michael Ball--Lakeshore

Dustynn Smith--Lakeshore

Matthew Nungesser--Mandeville

Alvin Jones--Miller-McCoy

Dane Landry--Northlake Christian

Ralph Price--Northshore

Marshall Wadleigh--Northshore

Decatur Durel--Pope John Paul II

Estevan Hilton--Sophie B. Wright

Darrell Johnson, Jr.--Thomas Jefferson


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