North Harford quarterback Nic Hammer enjoyed being a leader during his two years as a starter. He often served as a coach on the field, constantly helping answer teammates' questions about their assignments.
Hammer knew those answers because he studied and learned the entire offensive playbook. That's why he became such a strong leader for the Hawks, and a big reason he was one of the winners at the 51st Annual Scholar Athlete Awards Dinner Wednesday at Martin's West.
The Greater Baltimore Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame holds this dinner annually and four other players received the same honor. Samuel Keenan (St. Paul's), Brian DeStefano (Severn), Stelios Mastoras (Poly) and Ryan Robertson (Walkersville) were the other four winners, each of whom received a $4,000 college scholarship.
Overall, 69 players nominated from five different regions.
Hammer's leadership proved vital to North Harford (5-4 last season) because the Hawks run the complex triple option offense. That's why he tried to make sure he knew all the roles of all the players — he wanted to have all the answers.
"I really enjoy being a student of the game," Hammer said. "It's one of my roles as a leader and captain to know what other players on the field have to do."
Hammer said he wanted to make sure his teammates knew they could come to him this season since the Hawks had a very young and small team that occasionally needed encouragement. He saw that as part of his job.
"I try to be a very positive leader," he said. "When one of my teammates looks like they're down, I'm going to be the one who tries to pick them up."
Hammer was on varsity for three years, serving as a backup during his sophomore year before winning the starting job as a junior. His football career will continue in the fall at Shepherd.
Also on Wednesday, McDonogh won the A. Paul Menton Award, an honor given to the top-ranked football team in the Baltimore metropolitan area.
Franklin and Middletown's teams both earned the Ben Eaton Sr. Championship Awards after winning the Class 3A and Class 2A state titles, respectively.
Chris Anderson (Mount Hebron) and Casey Hickman (Urbana) both earned The Courage Award for their battles against injuries, and how they came back.
The Towson University football team was also given a special achievement award for their season, which saw the Tigers make it to the Football Championship Subdivision final.
"We don't line up to play, we line up to win," Towson coach Rob Ambrose said. "We'll be back."
John Arena of the Johns Hopkins football team also was given a special achievement award. In addition, the Foundation recognized the late Bill Bauersfeld, who died last year after being a driving force behind the awards dinner throughout its history.