Orem • "Humble" was the operative word Tuesday night at the 20th annual scholar-leader-athlete banquet of the Utah Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame banquet at Utah Valley University.
That was the word used by former Utah State football star and member of the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks Bobby Wagner who earned the group’s Distinguished American Award. Juan Diego football coach John Colosimo and prep football official Bob Blair, who were honored for their outstanding service to high school football.
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The Utah Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame honored 13 high school football scholar leaders, each of whom received a crystal trophy, a $1,000 scholarship, a ring and a signed football from Super Bowl champ Bobby Wagner. The winners: Manti’s Connor Justin Aste, Olympus’ Robert Borden, Rich’s Dakatoa Rylie Clark, Logan’s Taylor Compton, Pleasant Grove’s Zachary Thomas Dawe, Grantsville’s Ky Fisher, Delta’s Hunter Fowles, Dixie High’s Gavin Graff, Olympus’ Conner Haller, Beaver’s Kasen Hutchings, Richfield’s Shay Morrison, Logan’s Chase Nelson and Woods Cross’ Nick Peterson.
"It was humbling to play in the Super Bowl," said Wagner, who had 10 tackles in this year’s Super Bowl and held the NFL’s top-scoring offense to a single touchdown. "I was extremely nervous. I was sweating, but then I saw Peyton Manning’s face, I was not as nervous as he was."
Wagner told the group he did not begin playing football until he was a junior when he realized that at 5-foot-7, he didn’t have much of a future in basketball. Utah State University was the only school that recruited him and he starred for the Aggies for four years.
Colosimo, a football coach for 36 years and head coach for 26 at Judge and now Juan Diego, led the Soaring Eagle to 11 straight region titles and five state championships.
"Someone helped you and made you look good," he told the athletes. "Think about those people who make you look good."
Blair officiated in eight high school state title games, two national junior college championship games and for numerous college leagues.
"As an official, the greatest compliment you can receive is to walk away and no one knew you were out there," he said. "I enjoyed the caliber of young men playing high school football."
The organization gave recently retired UVU athletic director and former Springville High football coach Mike Jacobsen its Contribution to Amateur Football Award.
He told that group that football builds teamwork, character and teaches hard work, all things that help players become more successful in life.
"Football develops a fraternity of friends," said Jacobsen. "My best friends are high school teammates, college teammates and former players who played with me when I coached at Springville. Why is that? It’s because that is what is expected of you when you suit up."
Jacobsen said he was sure that by the time he left UVU, the school would be playing football, but because of political reasons, the Wolverines have not yet been allowed to field a football team.
The organization honored 13 high school football scholar leaders.
According to Corner Canyon athletic director and Utah Chapter of the National Football Foundation board member and past president Steve Park, each of the athletes received a crystal trophy, a $1,000 scholarship, a ring and a signed football from Wagner.
In accepting the award on behalf of the 13 winners. Dixie High’s Gavin Graff acknowledged the coaches, teachers, mentors, teammates and parents who helped teach the group life’s most valuable lessons.
"Football isn’t just a game to have fun, but it prepares us for the future and exposes our true character," he said.
High school athletes honored included Manti’s Connor Justin Aste, Olympus’ Robert Borden, Rich’s Dakatoa Rylie Clark, Logan’s Taylor Compton, Pleasant Grove’s Zachary Thomas Dawe, Grantsville’s Ky Fisher, Delta’s Hunter Fowles, Graff, Olympus’ Conner Haller, Beaver’s Kasen Hutchings, Richfield’s Shay Morrison, Logan’s Chase Nelson and Woods Cross’ Nick Peterson.
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