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Avon’s Cole Milardo honored as Scholar Athlete by National Football Foundation

Avon High football coach Brendan Smith, left, and Cole Milardo, who was recently named a Scholar Athlete by the local chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

Avon High senior Cole Milardo was recognized as a Scholar Athlete by the Doc Boisoneau Northern Connecticut chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame at their 57th annual banquet in May.

Milardo was one of 14 high school players to be honored with the Scholar Athlete award by the Doc Boisoneau Northern Connecticut chapter for excellence in academics, character/community service, leadership and football prowess.

The award goes beyond performance on the field, former Avon High coach Jeff Redman once said. “It more than your performance on the field,” he said. “It (is about) your performance in the classroom, your performance in the community, your performance with leadership.”

Farmington’s Luke Watson and Nicholas DeBrito were named as Scholar Athletes along with George Horst of Granby High.

Chris Machol, the head coach at Farmington, was honored with the Asaph Schwapp Scholar-Athlete alumnus award. Machol earned a Scholar-Athlete award in 1998 when he was a senior at Newington High.

Milardo was the quarterback and free safety for the Falcons, who deploy the run-dominated single-wing offense. He ran for 238 yards and three touchdowns.

“Cole was a field general who took responsibility for the entire offense. He knew everyone’s role on every play and he took responsibility for the huddle,” Avon High coach Brendan Smith said.

He earned the Avon Legacy Award, which goes to a player with a high impact with leadership engagement in service on and off the field. He earned his Eagle Scout award this year and will attend the University of Pittsburgh on a four-year ROTC scholarship.

As one of the top four candidates, as determined by the chapter’s Scholar-Athlete selection committee, Milardo was awarded the C. Edwin Creed award. Creed was the second head football coach at Teachers College of Connecticut, now known as Central Connecticut State, and a successful business leader.

Milardo is the 20th Avon High football player to receive a Scholar Athlete award from the chapter since 1968.

Machol has been the Farmington High head coach for 14 years. He took over the program in 2009 and has led the River Hawks to five winning seasons. Farmington went 9-1 in 2011 and missed the CIAC playoffs. The Hawks went to the Class L playoffs in 2013, scoring 306 points, the most by a Farmington team since they joined the Central Connecticut Conference in 2009.

Previous Avon High Scholar Athletes

1968 – Dennis Daly
1971 – Craig Lister
1974 – Marc Galiette
1984 – Scott Sadowsky
1987 – Michael Jud
1997 – Scott Gunn
1998 – Ian McNeill
1999 – Jon Hierl
2002 – Brendan Roche
2003 – Daniel Jamieson
2004 – Derek Kon
2008 – Mike D’Onofrio
2011 – Colin Pavano
2012 – Colin Moore and Chris Suttmeir
2015 – Harrison Gill
2018 – Ryan Ollestad
2019 – Henry Schrecengost
2022 – Nils Jerger
2023 – Cole Milardo

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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