Allstate Sugar Bowl Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of FameIn January of 2000, the Sugar Bowl Committee took over the title sponsorship of the New Orleans Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. Included in the Bowl's sponsorship of the chapter is the administration of an annual awards banquet held each spring to honor deserving high school football scholar athletes from the metropolitan area. Since 2000, the Sugar Bowl has recognized over 350 student-athletes while distributing over $250,000 in scholarship money. Sugar Bowl Member Archie Manning is the national chairman of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. To become a member of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, please click here.

The 2015 Scholar-Athlete Luncheon was held on Tuesday, April 28.

2015 Facebook Photo Gallery

Thirty-three local high school football players were recognized for their achievements in the classroom and on the football field. The honorees were chosen from a nominated group of talented scholar athletes from the New Orleans area. Archie Manning, the national chairman of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, recognized each of the 33 student athletes at the event. From that group of 33, five were selected to receive Allstate Sugar Bowl Scholarships for $10,000 each. The scholarship winners were chosen based on essays submitted after being notified of their selection as scholar-athletes.

The five scholarship winners were Matt Adams (Fisher High School), Miguel Hewitt Black (Northlake Christian), Isaiah Carter (Covington High School), Montana Giordano (Holy Cross) and William Kenyon (St. Paul's). Carey Wicker, the President of the Sugar Bowl Committee, recapped their accomplishments and referenced their winning essays prior to presenting each scholarship winner with a commemorative check.

Adams is scheduled to graduate with honors after a standout football and wrestling career. He was the top defensive lineman at his school and won a state wrestling championship as a junior. However, prior to his senior year, he suffered a major knee injury and doctors said he would miss the full year. Instead, he fought his way back and won another state wrestling championship. He reached this impressive level of achievement despite being born with a serious hearing disorder requiring him to read lips and watch hand signals to keep up with the action. In his essay, he referenced his older brother, who has Down Syndrome, writing, "he reminds me every day that we all face challenges and should make the best of our abilities."

Hewitt-Black was an all-state running back, captain of the soccer team, and an all-district performer on the track team, while maintaining a 3.8 grade-point average and being active in a wide-range of non-sports activities. His essay highlighted his gratitude to his mother, who is a single parent to four children. He wrote, "I hear people make their opinions that a woman cannot raise a man. I beg to mother is the reason I am the person I am." He is headed to Mississippi College to pursue a career in pediatric neurology.

Carter was an all-district football player and team captain and a regional championship participant in track and field, while logging an amazing GPA of 4.5. He was named the "Student of the Year" for his school and volunteered for many great causes. In his essay, he referenced his older brother who was born with medical deficiencies that have left him in a state of slow development. "Having my brother in my life has helped me become a better, more independent and less judgmental person." He also wrote, "The role model I want to be is one that knows how to overcome times of hardship and bounce back even stronger."

In Giordano's essay, he related a story his mother told him on the value of perception. The story was of two twins, one a CEO and one a prisoner. The prisoner was asked, "How did you become a criminal." He answered, "Well, my mother died when I was 11." The CEO was asked, "How did you become a CEO?" He replied, "Well, my mother died when I was 11." Sadly, this story hit close to home shortly after his mother's lesson. When he was 12 years old, his father died in an automobile accident. Despite the pain, he wrote that "giving up would not make my father proud." He credits the support of his family, including his mother and grandfather, for him becoming a standout football player with an exceptional 4.69 GPA as he expects to finish as his school's valedictorian.

Kenyon credits football for helping him make it through challenging times. Rather than let issues in his life break him, he wrote about those challenges "serving as my motivation, a catalyst to alter my view of life in a positive way." He threw himself into football, following the words of his coach, Ken Sears, who taught him, "the player with the most heart becomes the greatest player both on the field and in life." He was a three-year letterman and a member of the Academic All-State team as well as a member of the National Honor Society who will graduate with a 4.0 grade-point average.

In addition to the high school honorees, two local businessmen were recognized for their contributions to the community and the sport of football.

Karl Benson, the Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference, was recognized for his years of service with the Contribution to Amateur Football Award. Benson, a native of the state of Washington, has spent over 25 years serving in conference commissioner roles at the Football Bowl Subdivision level. After four years at the Mid-American Conference, he went on to an 18-year tenure with the Western Athletic Conference. In 2012, he came to New Orleans and took over the reins of the Sun Belt.

Jack Laborde, an ideal example of someone who has built upon the lessons and principles learned as a young football player to become a successful businessman, was presented with this year's Distinguished American honor. Laborde is the President of All Aboard Development Corp., a New Orleans based independent oil and gas exploration and development firm. After starring in football at Jesuit High School, Laborde accepted a football scholarship to attend Tulane University where he went on to earn his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1971. He added a master's in business administration with a major in finance and tax in 1973 from Tulane.

2015: Thirty-Three Local Football Standouts Recognized at Superdome Event
2014: Scholarships Highlight Allstate Sugar Bowl/NFF Honors Luncheon
2013: Allstate Sugar Bowl and NFF Honor 34 Local Scholar-Athletes
2012: Thirty-Four Local Scholar-Athletes Honored by Sugar Bowl and NFF
2011: Allstate Sugar Bowl and NFF Honor 35 Scholar-Athletes
2010: NFF Honors Local High School Football Players
2009: Talented Class of Honorees at 2009 NFF/College Football Hall of Fame Luncheon
2008: Nineteen Honored at 2008 Football Foundation Luncheon
2007: Sugar Bowl Honors Standouts at 2007 NFF Awards Luncheon
2006: No class recognized due to Hurricane Katrina
2005: Listing of the 2004-05 NFF Scholar Athletes
2004: Listing of the 2003-04 NFF Scholar Athletes
2003: Listing of the 2002-03 NFF Scholar-Athletes
2002: Listing of the 2001-02 NFF Scholar-Athletes
2001: Listing of the 2000-01 NFF Scholar-Athletes

Allstate Sugar Bowl Chapter of the NFF/CFHOF Special Awards

 Year  Contributions to Amateur Football
 Distinguished American
 2014 Jim Henderson, Sports Broadcaster
 Dennis Lauscha, New Orleans Saints
 2013 J.T. Curtis, John Curtis School
 Elliott Hill, Nike North America
 2012 Vince Gibson, Tulane University
 Elliott Laudeman, Sugar Bowl Committee
 2011 Bill Curl, Louisiana Superdome
 Doug Hertz, Tulane University
 2010 Bill Bumgarner, Sportswriter
 Mickey Loomis, New Orleans Saints
 2009  Wright Waters, Sun Belt Conference
 Doug Thornton, SMG (Louisiana Superdome)
 2008  Jerry Romig, Saints/Sugar Bowl
 Tony Biagas, New Orleans City Park
 2007  Skip Bertman, Louisiana State
 Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
 2006  NA  NA
 2005  Rick Dickson, Tulane University  Jerry Ebbert, New Orleans Homeland Security
 2004  Archie Manning, NFF/Sugar Bowl  Peter Finney, Times-Picayune
 2003  Don Wattigny, Edna Karr H.S.  Tommy Henry, LHSAA
 2002  NA
 2001  Ken Trahan, Sports Reporter
 Gene Newton
 2000  Ed Daniels, WGNO-TV
 Tom Benson, New Orleans Saints
 1999  Edward Bravo
 Paul Buckley, Hilton
 1998  Leonard Reis
 James Wilson, Tulane University
 1997  Bobby Conlin, Brother Martin HS
 William Ross
 1996  Jack Salter, Covington HS
 Larry Lundy
 1995  Rev. John T. Curtis, Sr., Curtis School
 Jim Mora, New Orleans Saints
 1994  Roy Glapion, N.O. Public Schools
 Tony Reginelli, Newman HS
 1993  Otis Washington, St. Aug HS
 Pat Taylor
 1990  NA  Bob Roesler, Times-Picayune
 1986  Shelby Fredrichs, Southern Yacht Club
 Tony Porter
 1984  Champ Clark, Sportswriter
 1984  Capt. Joe Katz, New Orleans
 Kent McWilliams
 1983  Ben Weiner, Tulane University
 1983  George Kalil, N.O. QB Club
 Stan Kotteman, Tulane/Official/QB Club
 1982  Hap Glaudi, Sports Reporter
 Kenny Konz
 1981  Armand Kitto
 Hank Lauricella, Louisiana Legislator
 1980  John Lynch
 Jim Taylor
 1979  A.B. Nicholas
 1979  Pie Dufour, Writer
 John Petitbon
 1978  NA  Charles Cusimano
 1978  Marshall David, Sugar Bowl
 Andy Pilney, Tulane University
 1977  Theo Maumus, Sugar Bowl
 1977  Sam Corenswet, Sugar Bowl
 Hank Lauricella, Louisiana Legislator
 1976  Cliff Kern, Sugar Bowl
 Dr. Rix Yard, Tulane University
 1971  Ike Carriere
 Lester Lautenschlaeger