2017 Award Winners
Sonny Unger Award Recipients
Centerville High School senior quarterback and team captain Alec Grandin embodies the Sonny Unger attitude of servant-leader. With 2,483 passing yards and 412 rushing yards, he led the 2017 Elks to a 9-1 regular season and a 1-1 playoff run. His calm demeanor and inner toughness drew his team to trust his skill set and his play calls through a very tough schedule. Alec had a vision of victory throughout the season and the entire offense, from his receivers, his running backs to the entire offensive line responded to a new level of excellence. Grandin believes that the success of the 2017 season was the result of three years of the team’s dedication to the Centerville football program.
Alec was born in Centerville to parents Chuck and Jackie Grandin. He has a two younger siblings, twins Charlie and Caroline. Charlie has special needs that require full-time care and Alec takes his responsibilities as a big brother and family member very seriously. He spends time with Charlie and takes care of him for his parents to have some time to themselves.
Alec grew up playing football in the Wee Elks program and basketball in the Centerville Hustle program. He transitioned to the Centerville Middle school programs as a seventh grader. As a middle school athlete, he received the Archie Griffin Award for sportsmanship, ethics and integrity in the seventh grade and was first runner up in the eighth grade. As a high school student-athlete, Alec has given back to the community by mentoring young football and basketball players and serves as a Lunch Buddy to elementary students at Cline Elementary School.
Looking back, Alec credits his success to the support his family, his middle school advisor Mary Mariscalco, and his head coaches Rodney Roberts, Brent Ullery and head basketball coach Brook Cupps. Each of these individuals played a distinct role in his development as a student, an athlete, a leader, and a man.
Entering his senior season with a new head coach, new plays, and coming off a disappointing junior season, Alec was not sure he was going to return to the field for his senior year. He realized that he needed football and his team needed him, so he fought his anxiety with toughness, determination and commitment to his teammates. He would not let his teammates down, which is really no surprise since this is the way Alec lives not only his athletic life, but also his whole life. A life of unselfish discipline, hard work and a commitment to others that will serve him well as he graduates and continues his higher education studies in the field of marketing.
Centerville High School senior wide receiver and team captain Jake Spiewak embodies the Sonny Unger attitude of tenacity, hard work, and never giving up. With 66 receptions for 1,011 yards, and 10 touchdowns, Jake set the Centerville High School record for most receiving yards in a season, most receptions in a game, and most receptions in a season. Jake is highly focused and determined, two attributes that a successful wide receiver needs. He develops positive relationships and credits his life-long friendship with his quarterback, Alec Grandin, and the other receivers for the success they all experienced in 2017.
Jacob was born in Centerville to John and Laurie Spiewak. He has an older brother, Tyler, and a younger sister, Ellie. He started playing football in the fourth grade with the Wee Elks. He played all four years in high school. He played other sports, but football became his passion. He loves the game, the challenge, and the brotherhood that football builds unlike any other sport.
Early on in his high school career, Jake struggled athletically and seemed awkward, but he never gave up. He never missed practice unless the coach pulled him out, and he gave tremendous effort at every practice, every drill and every game. This work ethic paid off as he grew into a 6’4” 205 pound wide receiver who set the bar for CHS wide receivers in the future. His toughness, his attitude, and his skill set would blend well with football teams of the 1980’s and ‘90’s.
One major influence in his academic and athletic career has been his current head coach, Brent Ullery. Coach Ullery was his high school receivers coach, his math teacher, and head football coach his senior year. Through math class and on the football field, Coach Ullery taught Jake to consider his end goal and determine what steps it would take to get there. Jake did all of the little things with as much attention to excellence as he did the big things, which he believes have lead him to the place he is today.
Jake has maintained a 3.52 GPA as a student athlete, works with Wee Elks, Lunch Buddies and Elk Connectors to give back to the Centerville Community. After high school, he will study and play football for the United States Air Force Academy. He chose the Air Force because the environment there feeds his desire for discipline, a D1 football program, and opens up opportunities for his future.
Centerville High School senior defensive lineman and two-time captain Sam Vance embodies the Sonny Unger attitude of a tough, no-nonsense leader. With 53 tackles, 5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles, this defensive talent made him a force to be reckoned with as he cleared the way for the defensive backfield to stop the opponents’ offense in the 2017 season. Sam’s toughness would blend well with teams of the 1980’s and 1990’s. He has an inner strength that pushes him to strive for excellence in every play, and encourage other players to follow suit.
Sam was born to Rick and Judy Vance when they were stationed with the Air Force in Maryland. He has one older brother, Will, who also played for the Elks. The two brothers grew up playing one-on-one football against each other, which spurred a sibling rivalry that lead to Sam to tackle his brother, the quarterback, when he was a freshman on the Elk scout team. The Vance family made Centerville their home after spending time in Germany, so Sam started playing for the Wee Elk team in second grade. He played through sixth grade and went on to play in the Centerville Middle School program, where he was a captain on both the seventh and eighth grade teams. As a freshman, he was called on to play on the scout team for the varsity guys. He played varsity during his sophomore, junior and senior year. He also played basketball and maintains an overall GPA of 3.77.
Sam Vance is a natural leader because of the way he relates to his peers, but he credits his leadership style to his dad, Coach Brent Ullery, Coach Brook Cupps, and Coach John Puckett. Sam remembers his dad constantly encouraging him to be a leader in every aspect of his life, and his coaches have encouraged, pushed, and expected him to be that leader. He also leads by example by giving time to the Wee Elks, Cline Elementary students through the Lunch Buddies program, Centerville freshmen through the Elk Connectors program.
When Sam graduates from Centerville High School, he will attend the United States Air Force Academy and play football. He chose the Air Force specifically because it offers a challenge that traditional colleges simply cannot. He grew up in an Air Force family and appreciates the discipline the military offers, and Sam pushes himself in every workout, every practice and every game. He believes that the Air Force will push him even harder so that he can work toward and reach his full potential as a student, an athlete, and a leader.