'Fantastic Falcon'

Soars with Golden Dozen

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It’s a prestigious non-profit that has awarded $140,000 in college scholarships since its founding by John Huntington back in 1988. Its purpose is to recognize and honor those individuals in the community and state who best exemplify such characteristics as outstanding academic performance and application, superior football participation and performance and exemplary school leadership and citizenship.

It’s a select club with admission by invitation only that has honored 874 student athletes, 30 Distinguished Americans, 30 people for their outstanding contributions to amateur football as well as 30 men who serve as game officials.

It’s the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame that in recent years has added the name of Emo DiNitto to official operating name in honor of President Emeritus Amelio “Emo” DiNitto, long-time schoolboy football coach at Bishop Hendricken and Toll Gate who went on to star at Boston University.

While DiNitto remains highly-active in the promotion and on-going fundraising for the RI Chapter and overall planning for the April 24 Annual Awards Dinner, current Cranston High East Head Football Coach Tom Centore serves as the gridiron group’s president.

“It’s an honor that comes with a lot of work,” Centore, who followed in the footsteps of his legendary father and former Johnston High School coach Tony Centore, said the other day. “It also comes with the satisfaction of honoring our state’s best scholar-athletes in our beloved sport of football.”

Each year, the DiNitto RI Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame names 12 players to its prestigious Golden Dozen and another list of standout schoolboys named the Silver Dozen.

“To date we’ve honored 348 Golden Dozen winners,” said Centore, who once starred as the All-State quarterback at Johnston High in 1983, offered. “We’ve also honored 526 Silver Dozen winners and we’re looking forward to another sellout awards dinner on April 24.”

The black-tie dinner, which is one of not only Rhode Island’s must New England’s most prestigious football banquets, will also feature the DiNitto/RI Chapter honoring three people who have helped promote the game of football at a number of levels.

The first is New England Patriots legendary offensive line Coach Dante Scarnecchia, a long-time friend of DiNitto who will receive the group’s highly-acclaimed Distinguished American Award.

Likewise, long-time RI schoolboy football coach Domenic Marcone who is now retired, will receive the Contribution to Amateur Football Award and Bruce Guindon will be honored with the Outstanding Officials Award.

For those who would like more information about the DiNitto/RI Chapter or to attend the annual awards dinner should call 885-2332.

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