ELMIRA, NY (WENY) - Saturday was a special one for 4 area football players as they were nominated for the opportunity to win the 2019 Ernie Davis Award for the area's top football athlete. Horseheads' Gavin Elston, Elmira's Nate Latshaw, Edison's Jack Hourihan, and Notre Dame's Erik Charnetski were all announced as this year's nominees at the Arnot Mall Saturday afternoon. 

The winner of the 2019 Ernie Davis Award will be announced Thursday, December 19th at noon during the Kiwanis Club Luncheon at the Elmira Holiday Inn.

This announcement came on the same day as the 2019 Heisman Trophy Ceremony, which Elmira's own Ernie Davis became the first African-American football player to win the Heisman back in 1961, and it was also Ernie's birthday. He would have been 80 years old.

The players' head coaches nominated them for the award, and even though performance plays a big part in the nomination, players were also nominated based on the great character they have demonstrated off the field, similar to Ernie Davis.

All four of these student-athletes are well-deserving of the award. Gavin Elston was one of the most explosive running backs in Section IV this season, rushing for 1,490 yards in just 9 games, and racking up 21 touchdowns. Off the field, Elston is very active in the community at multiple events such as volunteering at the Horseheads Food Bank, the Horseheads Animal Shelter, and youth camps among others.

Elmira's, Nate Latshaw was a crucial part of the Express lineup on both sides of the ball. As a running back, Nate rushed for 1,121 yards and scored a team high 20 touchdowns. He also led the Express defensively with 5.5 sacks and 7 tackles for losses. Nate is also very active in the community volunteering at many youth football camps, as well as the Parish Festival and Strong Kids Safe Kids event among others.

Edison's Jack Hourihan tallied 75 tackles this season for the Spartans at Linebacker, 15 of them for losses. He was seen as one of the main leaders on this year's team, he carries a 3.3 GPA, and is the member of the Key Club and Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America.

Lastly, Notre Dame's Erik Charnetski was a big part of the Crusader's successful season. The Quarterback threw for 964 yards and 15 touchdowns in just 5 games. Erik is also a stellar student in the classroom, as Head Coach Mike D'Aloisio wrote that he carries over a 95 GPA, and has volunteered at events such as the Joel Stephens Golf Tournament, the Family Reading Partnership Book Fest, and he is a Notre Dame Ambassador.

Check out the video for a full recap from Saturday's ceremony, and hear from all 4 student-athletes on being nominated for this prestigious award.