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Lancaster's Max Giordano voted catch of the year

It was close, but we have a winner.

Senior Max Giordano's one-handed catch in Lancaster's Week Four win at Niagara Falls has been voted the best catch of the high school football season.

Thanks for the 5,000-plus votes over the course of the past few weeks. This has been a fun experiment and is something I hope to continue during the winter and spring seasons.

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The first round (Oct. 23-29) is over. Results are below:

Max Giordano (Lancaster) 601 votes
Nic Bruce (Orchard Park) 489
Ray Blackwell (Maryvale) 321
Nate Moore (Albion) 241
Thomas Cecere (Grand Island) 238
Hamburg's Hail Mary 102
Xzavier Janczylik (St. Francis) 70
Joe Shifflet (Williamsville East) 66

The semifinals (Oct. 30-Nov. 5) are over. Results are below:

Max Giordano (Lancaster) 457 votes
Ray Blackwell (Maryvale) 385* (312 votes in tiebreaker)
Nic Bruce (Orchard Park) 385* (265)
Nate Moore (Albion) 200

The final (two videos) is over. Results are below.

Max Giordano (Lancaster) 499 votes
Ray Blackwell (Maryvale) 461 votes

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The winner:

1. Lancaster's Max Giordano

Lancaster's offense has been humming once again this season, and a huge reason why has been the big-play ability of senior wide receiver Max Giordano.

The Legends "only" put up 41 points in a Week Four win at Niagara Falls. Giordano didn't score a touchdown that game, but he did do this:

Runner-up:

2. Maryvale's Ray Blackwell

Ray Blackwell has been a standout on Maryvale's basketball team since his freshman year. You should probably start taking notice of his skills on the football field, too.

During the Class B quarterfinals in Week Eight, the senior reached out with his left hand before securing the ball with his right as he was being tackled in midair by a Newfane DB. Talk about concentration.

Catches eliminated in the semifinals:

3. Orchard Park's Nic Bruce

All wasn't bad for the Quakers in a Week Three loss at Lancaster.

With 7:28 left in the third quarter, senior Nic Bruce came down with a sensational one-handed, laying-all-out catch to get OP on the board against its Class AA rival. It was the first touchdown Lancaster's starting defense gave up this season.

I wonder what Bruce thought of his catch ... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

4. Albion's Nate Moore

A known cardinal sin for quarterbacks is throwing the ball back into the middle of the field ... unless you have Nate Moore, that is.

In a Week Three win at Fredonia/Westfield/Brocton, the Albion junior reached back behind his head with one hand pulled down a prayer between three defenders.

Here's a couple angles of Moore's highlight-reel play:

Catches eliminated in the first round:

5. Grand Island's Thomas Cecere

Week Five was huge for Grand Island, as the Vikings earned their first win over Starpoint in four years.

It was also a huge game for Thomas Cecere. He ran for 203 yards and three touchdowns and also made his presence felt on defense in earning Prep Talk Football Player of the Week.

Cecere came off the edge but sniffed out a quick pass that he tipped up in the air, turned around, caught and took back nearly 70 yards for a score. (The play starts at 0:27.)

6. Hamburg's Hail Mary

Hamburg's prayers were answered during the closing moments of its 19-14 win over Lake Shore in Week Three.

Down, 14-13, Kyle Shuttleworth lofted a pass from his 43-yard line that was tipped up in the air and caught by Simon Hagen behind a group of four Lake Shore defenders inside the 10-yard line and ran in for the winning score.

The play was named one of the top five of the week on Hudl.

7. Williamsville East's Joey Shifflet

The Flames have had a flare for the dramatic this season, and senior Joey Shifflet has been as important a player as any in Williamsville East's resurgence.

Both points may not be more evident than it was in a Week Three win at Williamsville South. Shifflet took a crossing pattern 60 yards to the house to give East a 26-24 with 26 seconds left on the clock.

But his catch on the ensuing two-point conversion to put the Flames up by three may have been even better.

8. St. Francis' Xzavier Janczylik

It couldn't have been a much better varsity debut for St. Francis sophomore Xzavier Janczylik.

The call-up ran eight times for 44 yards and a 9-yard touchdown that helped the Red Raiders in Week Six win a 29-26 game against St. Joe's. He also caught two passes for 27 yards.

“One was Odell Beckham-like, falling backwards and snagging it with his hand behind his head,” St. Francis coach Jerry Smith said after the game. “It was amazing.”

You be the judge.

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