CLARK, NJ – Scholarships and season highlights were front and center at the Arthur L. Johnson High School Crusader Football annual awards dinner held on March 6, 2016.  Student athletes were honored for their contribution to the school’s football team. Head Football Coach Anthony DelConte presided over the evening.

“It was a wonderful evening to celebrate both past and present Crusaders and continues to keep the tradition of Crusader Football alive and well,” Athletic Director Gus Kalikas said in a statement about the event.

The following scholarships were awarded at the dinner:

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The Collegiate Athlete of the Year

The Collegiate Athlete of the Year honors a former Crusader that has gone on to succeed both in the classroom and on the athletic fields. The 2015 recipient was Ryan Barron, who played collegiate football at Kutztown University.

The Henry A. Varriano Memorial Award

Henry R.Varriano presents this award to a senior player who displays determination and a never give up attitude. The recipient of this award always puts “team above self,” “sacrificed individuality for the team,” “pushed himself to achieve greater heights,” “overcame adversity” and “displayed perseverance.” The Varriano Award is for a scholarship and plaque.  The 2015 Varriano Award winner was Drew Shannon.

The Clark Pop-Warner Scholarship

Clark Pop-Warner annually gives a scholarship to one football player and one cheerleader that have come through the program and continued their careers in their respective sports while attending Arthur L. Johnson High School. The Clark Pop-Warner Scholarship is for a scholarship and plaque. The 2015 recipients were John Couzzi and Brianna Torres.

Century 21 JRS Academic Achievement Award

George and Carene Sanguliano annually present the Century 21 JRS Academic Achievement Award to the senior football player with the highest grade point average. The award includes a scholarship and plaque. This year’s 2015 Academic Achievement Award winner was Anthony Rizzutto.

The Dennis Carpini Memorial Scholarship

The Dennis Carpini Memorial Scholarship recipient receives a scholarship and plaque. It is presented to the senior football player who, like Carpini, overcame odds and had a true love of Crusader Football. The athlete must be a heart and soul competitor, a unifier, and a positive role model. The 2015 Dennis Carpini Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Matt Englese.

The Emerald Lawn Sprinklers Most Improved Player Scholarship

The Emerald Lawn Sprinklers Most Improved Player Scholarship recipient receives a scholarship and plaque. It is presented to the senior football player who through dedication, hard work, and perseverance has shown a tremendous improvement in the sport of football throughout their high school career. The 2015 Emerald Lawn Sprinklers Most Improved Player Scholarship was awarded to Andrew Sanchez.

The Don LaPenna Memorial Leadership Scholarship

The Don LaPenna Leadership Memorial Scholarship recipient receives a scholarship and plaque. It is presented to the senior football player who, like LaPenna, overcame odds and had a true love of Crusader Football. The athlete must be a great role model who displays excellent leadership qualities and was dedicated to his team. The 2015 Don LaPenna Leadership Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Anthony Rizzuto.

The William Waterson Memorial Scholarship

Clark Police Officer William J. Waterson made the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life in the line of duty. He was brave, honest, and devoted to the job. Mr. Tom Maye, owner of Station Cab, presents this award to be displayed in the school’s main trophy case and awards a scholarship to the senior who most exemplifies the character traits of Officer Waterson. This award speaks to sacrifice and commitment. The recipient set a new standard of leadership and character in the school and community. He has the innate ability to impact all students in our school. He is well liked, and respected, by his peers. The 2015 William Waterson Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Wes Giannobile.

The Thomas Santaguida “Saint of the Year” Award

The loss of Thomas Santaguida, who was much-loved and admired, devastated the entire ALJ community. When Santaguida came to Johnson in 1993, he replaced one of the most respected and loved men in ALJ history, Lou Paragallo. Santaguida won everyone over with his dignity, his professionalism, his confidence, and most of all, his sense of sportsmanship and fair play. He was a mentor all and the school community became stronger from the experience. As a high school player at Plainfield, Santaguida played football and basketball. His coaches and teammates said his fiery style and zest for competition stood out even then. Those are the qualities that are celebrated in naming the 2015 Johnson Football “Saint of the Year.” The 2015 “Saint of the Year” was awarded to Justin Faulke.