Knights QB caps career as MVP

Statistics don’t tell everything about a player.

But they do show something, and St. Thomas More quarterback Dario Ciccone has the numbers to back up this claim.

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The B.C. High School Football Association unveiled its annual awards this week prior to the finals, and Ciccone was front and centre.

The Knights pivot was named the 2018 AAA MVP, after steering his team to a stellar 6-2 record.

The Burnaby native said the award came as a surprise, but was a reflection of the team that surrounded him.

“I was pretty surprised when I got the email,” Ciccone told the NOW. “I thought I had a pretty good season, because going in no one expected much.

“There was talk about us going AA, but we came in and just worked hard.”

Also picking up honours were senior receiver Michael Simone, who was named to the all-star squad, and first-year lineman Kaishuan Carter, who was chosen as one of two Top Grade 11s.

The numbers don’t lie – Ciccone was a dual threat that forced opposing defences to think on the go.

He posted the best completion rate of any passer in the regular season with more than 50 attempts, completing 70 of 101 throws for a 69 per cent success rate.

Those passes added up to 1,209 yards, an average of 172.7 per game, and resulted in 13 touchdown catches. He was intercepted only twice, after going all of 2017 without an interception.

In the team’s two playoff games, he went 11-for-19 and threw four TDs.

Ciccone was also an effective scrambler, garnering 276 yards on 41 carries, five of which were touchdowns.

That versatility is a big reason why he earned the award, STM coach Steve DeLazzari said.

“I think the big thing with Dario was that balance, how he was a dual threat quarterback,” said DeLazzari. “His decision-making was off the charts, and when he couldn’t see an opening (to pass) he would run.”

It’s that decision-making element which Ciccone says was where he focused on addressing last off-season.

“I think my decision-making was what I worked hardest on,” he said. “In my first year I felt there were a few moments where I was indecisive, but I worked with my coaches on being able to make better decisions.”

He credits coaches Danny Simone and Joe Adams with helping him raise his game during his two seasons on the varsity squad.

DeLazzari said those two years presented a unique learning experience and test, beginning with the program suffering the loss of coach Bernie Kully to cancer early in the 2017 season.

“I think having been a starter all through Grade 11 and going through what we did with the passing of coach Kully, that really brought the team together,” said DeLazzari.

Michael Simone gave Ciccone a great target at receiver, and enjoyed a special bond, along with Vasco Repole, that paid off on the field.

“When you talk about connections Dario had with Michael and Vasco, having started playing together in flag football, it was like a Sedin connection,” said DeLazzari.

Simone posted 32 receptions for 739 yards and 11 majors.

Carter, who debuted at the senior level as a Grade 10, was a major force on the Knights’ line on both sides of the ball.

“He was a big part of our season, and with most of the linemen returning, a big part of next year’s plans,”

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