Six players who left a lasting impression on the Lackawanna Football Conference and District 2 are finalists for the annual Fiore Cesare Award and Scholarship.
Dunmore running back Cristian Buckley, Lakeland tight end CJ Dippre, Riverside quarterback Johnny Gilchrist, Delaware Valley linebacker Jason Henderson, Western Wayne running back Zane Janiszewski and Lackawanna Trail fullback Ray Melnikoff are in the running for the honor that recognizes student-athletes for excellence in academics, athletics and community service.
The award and scholarship was established in 1992. It is given in the name of Fiore Cesare, who was the first commissioner of officials for the Scranton chapter, and is presented by the Roy Davis Scranton Chapter of Officials and People’s Security Bank.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 mitigation mandates, the date and time, and how the award will be announced has yet to be determined.
All six finalists had four-year varsity careers at their respective high schools and were named to The Times-Tribune All-Region team this fall.
Melnikoff led Lackawanna Trail to two District 2 Class 1A championships as a sophomore and junior. In 2018, the Lions reached the PIAA Class 1A final and in 2019, they made the Class 1A semifinals. He ran for 381 yards on 53 carries to average 7.2 yards per carry with eight touchdowns in four games and finished his career with 3,405 yards with 40 touchdowns.
Other nominees for the award included Honesdale lineman Jakob Burlein, Delaware Valley lineman Mike Gecik, Old Forge athlete Michael DiGregorio, West Scranton wide receiver Nick Forsette, Scranton Prep tight end Vito Gianello and quarterback Paddy Grady, Old Forge linebacker Colin Holzman, Scranton wide receiver Sam Jones, Dunmore linebacker Karl Kincel, North Pocono lineman Chris Kryeski, West Scranton quarterback Cayden Merrifield, Valley View fullback TJ Noto, Honesdale fullback Jacob Orrick, Lakeland running back Giovanni Spataro and Mid Valley defensive back Jeremiah Wolo.