Thanksgiving Award winners
Foran High junior running back-defensive back Connor Cadrin stood still amidst the confusion of a post-game celebration on Thanksgiving Day answering reporter’s questions about the Lions’ 56-29, high-octane offensive win over cross-city rival Jonathan Law.
Cadrin, who received the first Ken Walker Memorial Award as his team’s Most Valuable Player, had finally taken a few moments to stop going.
He’d been nothing but constant motion all morning long, scoring five touchdowns and leading the way as the Lions won for the fifth straight time on Thanksgiving Day and concluded a season with a 6-4 record.
Walker, whose passing last June at the age of 60 shocked the community, was a fixture at the school.
His son, Garrett, presented the award to Cadrin in an emotional ceremony.
Cadrin was one of six award winners for Foran.
The others included Andrew Melendez ( Michael Miller Individual Effort Award winner), Quinn Brooks (Mario Ponsalle Award), Jake Kasuba (Daniel Wasson Award winner as offensive player of the game), James Monk (The Ray Bloxsom Milford High Remembrance Award winner as top offensive lineman) and Sam Olsson (Unsung Hero Award).
Cadrin rushed for 152 yards on 11 carries, caught three passes for 112 yards, returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown, and picked off a pass near his team’s goal line.
Four of his five touchdowns came in the second half when the Lions took off and broke open what had been a 22-14 lead at halftime.
“Mr. Walker was not only a great teacher and coach, but he was a great man,” Cadrin said. “He had an impact on everybody. It’s a great honor to get this award.”
Lion coach Jeff Bevino said:
“Connor became an over-looked player until today. We had Nico DeRosa as our primary running back until he got hurt. Connor stepped in against Law and had a great game.”
Bevino was almost brought to tears talking about Walker.
“I only knew him for seven or eight years,” he said. “After every game he would wait outside the gate following our home games. I know that I’m going to be teary-eyed today after I go out through that exit.
“All of our kids here had him for their gym teacher. He was the Pied Piper and a great coach.”
Senior linebacker and captain George Knoth was the Joe Beler Jr. Award winner, as Law’s defensive Player of Game.
The others were Brian Santora (The Ray Bloxsom Milford High Remembrance Award winner as top offensive lineman), Nick Casagrande (Les Beaulieu Unsung Hero Award), Tim Speer (Les Beaulieu Unsung Hero Award) and Danny Ziebel (Teddy Paul Kostopoulus Game MVP winner).
“I thought that we could wear them down,” Knoth said. “But they came out and played hard in the second half. You have to give them credit for that.
“We had a great season (the team went 4-6 after going winless in 10 games during the 2011 season). If anyone told me that we’d be even competitive after losing to them last year and being down, 48-0, I wouldn’t have believed it.
“It’s always an honor to play in this game. I know so many of their players since we went up against each other in Pop Warner.”