Football: Thanksgiving Day Award winners

As their respective squads closed in and gathered together following their annual Thanksgiving Day battle between Milford city rivals, Foran High and Jonathan Law, the anticipation level started to grow.

Players on each team always await to see who will receive the individual awards presented by the head coaches. at Foran Jeff Bevino, and this year for the first time by Law's Erik Larka.

In a tradition begun last year, each team now participates in the others' presentation.

For the ninth year in a row, Foran walked off with the big prize, a 43-21 victory over the Lawmen. The Lions have now retired three straight City trophies and Bevino has a 9-1 record over Law since becoming the school's head coach in 2007.

Neither Law's Joe Mumford, a two-way player as a running back and defensive back, nor Foran's Jared Hubler, also a two-platoon player as a receiver and defensive back, knew they were going to be among the 11 players honored. Each, however, was elated in being chosen.

"It's a honor," Hubler said. "I'm just so glad to be a part of this team which did so well this year. I live within walking distance of Foran. We have so much to be happy and proud for."

Hubler received the Mike Miller Memorial Award. Miller a former Foran High standout, was killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

Mumford, who rushed for a game-high 122 yards, scoring once on a 65-yard run, was presented the Joe Beler Award for his play. Beler was a key player for Law on its MBIAC championship team. He later coaches at both schools and is credited with starting Law’s wrestling program.

"Winning this award is beautiful because Mr. Beler (Joe’s son and namesake) is my track coach at Law," said Mumford. "In many ways, he's like a second father to me."

One of Mumford's big chores as a defensive back on Thursday was to cover Foran's state-record breaking receiver, Brett Huber, who caught four passes for 47 yards.

"It wasn't an easy task (covering Huber), but I thought we did a pretty good job of it."

In addition to playing football at Foran, Hubler, is a hockey player on the Milford Co-op team in the winter and is a member of Foran's spring track team, where he's a pole vaulter.

Finishing at 7-3, Foran missed out on making the Class M state playoffs and knew it going into the game, following a Wednesday night victory by New Fairfield.

"It in no way impacted our feelings about playing Law," Hubler said. "It wouldn't been nice to qualify, because Foran hasn't done it since 2001, but Law is still Law."

Under Larka, the Lawmen improved from 1-9 a year ago to 4-6.

Mumford felt the change. "It was a whole different attitude going into the season," he said. "We felt confident and upbeat. A lot of the negative feelings from the past were gone. This team came a long way, and I have a feeling it will only get better next year. As a senior, I won't get a chance to experience that directly, but I'm sure I'll come back  to watch."

Other awards presented to  Foran High players on Thursday went to Brett Huber (Ken Walker Memorial), Lance DiNatale (Daniel Wasson Memorial), Colby Stuart (Ray Bloxsom Sr. Milford High Remembrance Top Lineman Award), Steve Lynch (Joe Beler Memorial), and Zach Cleary (Mario Ponsalle Memorial).

On the Law side, quarterback Mitchell Smith received the Les Beaulieu Unsung Hero, Jake Mola the Teddy Paul Kostopoulos Award; Dennis Theis the Law Alumni Award and Justin Abe the Ray Bloxsom Sr. Milford High Remembrance Top Lineman Award.