Posted: 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013

Cardinal Newman’s Travis Rudolph earns Lou Groza Award as area’s top football player | Video

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Travis Rudolph photo
Thomas Cordy
Cardinal Newman's Travis Rudolph was named player of the year at the annual Lou Groza Awards at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. (Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post)
Jack Daniels photo
Thomas Cordy
Dwyer High School's head coach Jack Daniels accepts the award for the team of the year at the annual Lou Groza Awards at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. (Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post)

By Anthony Chiang

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


After setting records on the football field this season, Travis Rudolph continued to make history Tuesday night.

The Cardinal Newman wide receiver set school records with 1,237 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches this season. The 6-1, 185-pound senior finished with a team-high 63 catches, and even had four interceptions on defense, leading the Crusaders to an 8-4 record and their first district title since 2004.

On Tuesday, Rudolph was named the Lou Groza Awards High School Player of the Year during a banquet at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, becoming just the second player from Cardinal Newman to win the award. Abram Elam was the first Crusader to win the award in 1999, before going on to play seven seasons in the NFL.

“This was definitely a surprise,” Rudolph said. “It’s an overwhelming experience to win this award. It shows that hard work does pay off. After practice, I would work every day on the little details to just keep getting better.”

Rudolph was joined by a handful of family members at the banquet, including his grandmother, who is battling cancer.

“She has played a big role in my life,” Rudolph said. “To see her go through all of that, it’s really a motivation for me.”

The ceremony recognized the year’s top high school player, coach, team and kicker along with three finalists for the Lou Groza Award, presented to college football’s top kicker. Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo, Texas’ Anthony Fera and South Florida’s Marvin Kloss are the college finalists. The winner will be announced Thursday at the College Football Awards show on ESPN.

Rudolph, who is considering Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and Florida, among others, won the award over Boynton Beach dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson and Palm Beach Central running back Tommy McDonald. Next up for Rudolph is the Under Armour All-America Game, which is where he is expected to announce his college decision on Jan. 2.

West Boca Raton’s Alphonso Moran won the Coach of the Year award. In his first season, Moran took over a team that went 2-7 last season and led the Bulls to a 7-4 record and their first playoff appearance since 2010.

“Like I tell the kids, if you put in the work and the time every day, success will come at the end of season,” Moran said. “We had a great coaching staff and we were able to get the kids to buy into the system.”

Moran won the award over Boynton Beach’s Rick Swain, who led the Tigers to a 9-2 record, and Dwyer coach Jack Daniels, who has the Panthers just one victory away from their second state title in school history.

But Dwyer didn’t go home empty-handed Tuesday, as it took the Team of the Year award over District 10-8A champion Palm Beach Central, District 15-6A runner-up Boynton Beach and District 10-8A runner-up Park Vista. The Panthers finished with their first 10-0 regular-season record in school history, averaging 43.6 points per game.

King’s Academy’s Paul Schumacher won the Kicker of the Year award over Cardinal Newman’s Steven Holmes and Park Vista’s Gabe Montes. Four of Schumacher’s seven field goals this season came from more than 40 yards away, including a 50-yard attempt to set a school record for the longest field goal.

High school awards for Palm Beach County

Player of the year: WR Travis Rudolph, Cardinal Newman.

Kicker of the year: Paul Schumacher, King’s Academy.

Coach of the year: Alphonso Moran Jr.

Team of the year: Dwyer.

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