BUFFALO, N.Y.- After much anticipation, Jamestown senior quarterback Jake Sisson has won 2013 Connolly Cup.
It is not much of a surprise that Jamestown's success came with Jake Sisson at quarterback. He had a season that would make anyone take notice. Sisson had many strengths. His leadership was unquestioned. He had complete control of the offense. He did not rush or force plays. If his receiver was not open he simply looked elsewhere, often throwing to his second or third option. He made great decisions. To make matters worse for a defense he could run the ball as well as a running back. In fact his 732 rushing yards (on 11 carries) led the team. His 24 touchdowns were two times as many as any other Red Raider.
Jake's passing this year was truly special. By the end of the year he found his way into the state and Western New York record books.His 3,184 passing yards are tops in this area (Chad Kelly held the previous mark with 3,050 yards in 2011). He is also 2nd in New York State for passing yards in a season (Greg Paulus of Christian Brothers Academy-Syracuse threw for 3,677 yards in 2004).Jake threw 33 touchdown passes and completed 178 of 275 attempts (64.7 completion percentage). Jake averaged 289.5 passing yards per game. The Red Raiders averaged 52 points per game in 2013. Of the 83 touchdowns Jamestown scored Sisson accounted for 57 of them. He scored 148 points and accounted for 3,907 total yards.
The Connolly Cup is awarded to Western New York's top high school football player. This year's banquet was held at Ilio DiPaolo's restaurant. Channel 2's Jonah Javad was the emcee of the event.
Here are the nine other finalists...
Qadree Ollison-Canisius running back
Qadree Ollison is certainly an example that sometimes less is better. Some might think that compared to 2012 this year was a letdown for Qadree. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Qadree faced defenses every week whose primary focus was to stop him. He routinely faced 8 or 9 defenders lined up within three yards of the ball. He had to work twice as hard for every yard he gained and every touchdown he scored. His play was vital to the Crusaders' championship season. Qadree finished the year with1, 465 rushing yards on 217 carries and scored 22 touchdowns. He became the first Canisius player to run for more than 4,000 yards (4,147) in his varsity career.
Chris Doubek Randolph running back.
Chris Doubek ran his team to a second consecutive Class D State Championship. He ran himself into the Western New York record book. His 2,536 rushing yards beat the mark set in 2009 by Dustin Brown of Southwestern (2,447 yards). Under any circumstances that is quite an accomplishment. It is even more remarkable if you consider the fact that Chris did not play 3 full quarters in many games. When the Cardinals had a big enough lead Chris and many other starters were removed rom the game. Doubek was the type of runner that linemen love to block for. He was patient and knew how to set up his blocks. He had the ability to out run defenders. When necessary he could also run them over. He finished the season with 36 touchdowns. He was also a solid contributor on defense. From his defensive back position Chris was in on 112 tackles. He intercepted 2 passes and recovered 2 fumbles.
Nigel Davis-St. Joe's
In a season that saw the St. Joe's team suffer through a tremendous number of injuries Nigel Davis lined up at eight different positions for the Marauders. He impacted the game no matter where he was on the field. His primary position on offense was running back. But when needed he played quarterback and receiver. On defense he played linebacker, corner back and safety. Nigel was not tested often on defense. Teams did not run his way or pass his way to often. He led his team with 11 passes defended. He also had 35 tackles and a sack. Offensively he rushed for 1,698 yards on 169 carries and scored 13 touchdowns. As a quarterback he only had four passing attempts. He completed three of those passes with one resulting in a touchdown. Of his 11 receptions one went for a touchdown and another was good for a 2 point conversion. Nigel accounted for nearly 50% of St. Joe's points. Many times a player who is on offense and defense does not play special teams. That was not the case for Nigel. He handled the punting and kicking duties. He also made 20 of 23 PAT attempts.
Matt McCarthy-Fredonia running back
Matt McCarthy served notice in week 1 that he would be one of western New York's premier running backs. On just 7 carries Matt ran for 139 yards and 3 touchdowns in Fredonia's victory over Falconer. Matt continued to turn in dominating performances all season. Leading the Hillbillies to the Sec. VI Class C championship game Matt ran for 1,644 yards on 132 attempts. Matt scored an incredible 33 touchdowns. If Matt McCarthy never lined up on the offensive side of the ball he would still be a force in every game. His play at defensive back was outstanding. He could take away the opposition's best receiver with his great cover ability. He also played great against the run. Matt would never quit on a play whether it was tracking down the ball or delivering key blocks on special teams. He was a relentless player wherever he lined up.
Tyler Mascio-South Parker quarterback
Although Tyler only had one season with South Park he certainly left his mark on their football program. Tyler led the Sparks to their first Section VI Class A South division title. No matter where Tyler played he was a winner. More importantly, he made his team and teammates better. His play improved each week and it was not a coincidence that the Sparks were also better each week. He had great confidence in his receivers. He kept plays alive gave them opportunities to make plays that most quarterbacks would not attempt. He completed 169 passes for 1,408 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also ran 42 times. He gained 282 yards and scored 5 TDs. Although he was only a part time defensive player Tyler was an excellent Safety. He contributed 3 interceptions during the year.
Brian Stoldt-Alden quarterback
Come from behind victories can be both stressful and exciting. For Brian Stoldt and the Alden Bulldogs they were routine. Four times Brian led Alden to winning touchdowns very late in the game. This was possible because Brian had complete control of his offense. His experience made it possible for him to change plays at the line of scrimmage. His maturity allowed him to remain calm and make plays. His leadership gave Alden the opportunity to win. He completed 106 of the 78 passes he threw for 1,483 yards and 21 touchdowns. When in trouble Brian usually was able to extend plays and throw the ball. He did not run often but he did gain 193 yards on 39 carries and scored one touchdown. He was called on to play defense that often. But he did make 23 tackles and recovered 1 fumble.
Lyle Grant-Alden running back
For a program with so much recent success Alden came into the 2013 season with a few question marks. Not the least of which was who would replace 2012 Connolly Cup winner Corey Barczykowski at running back. Lyle Grant was an option but the sophomore was not given the starting position. That was okay because Grant's work and play in the offseason and practice forced the issue. The coaching staff took notice. Lyle fit perfectly into Alden's offense. A key contributor to Alden's come from behind victories he quickly became a player that the coaches and players knew they could count on. He gained 1,165 yards on 171carries and scored 13 offensive touchdowns. He was also a presence at his defensive back position. Lyle scored 3 defensive TDs, had 31 total tackles and 3 sacks. He also intercepted 3 passes and recovered 2 fumbles. He added two 2 point conversions.
Brandon Thomas-Cleve Hill running back
There were many impressive aspects to Brandon Thomas's play this season. He was an unselfish leader. He was a team player who cared more about wins than his own statistics. He did whatever he was asked whether it was blocking or running. And what a runner he was. He was a tough back to play against. He took a pounding and always ran better as the game went on. He seldom went down on the first hit. Brandon led the Eagles to their best season with a Class C State Semi Final playoff appearance. On the year He ran for 1,093 yards on 184 carries and scored 13 touchdowns and four 2 point conversions. On defense he contributed 29 tackles with a sack and added an interception along with a safety.
Austen Lauricella-Akron running back
Some players make football look like it is so easy. Austen Lauricella is one of those players. He has great vision on the field. He also has great anticipation. It appears that he knows where every player is on the field and where they will be during a play. His ability to adjust to the ball or the opposition is impressive. He has been described as slippery and elusive. Even when defenses think they have him contained he is able to escape, often times with great results. Austen ran the ball 100 times for the Tigers and gained 1,048 yards and scored 11 times. As a receiver he set a school record with 38 receptions and another record with 784 yards. He caught 7 touchdown passes. His 75 catches for 1,464 yards are also career marks for Akron. He was just as dangerous as a kick returner. He had 324 return yards with 2 more scores. On defense he contributed 30 tackles and an interception from his safety position. Austen also handled the punting duties for the Tigers.