For the list of the other 2014 Gatorade State Football POYs, click here
THE WINNER: Joe Gaziano
School: Xaverian (Westwood, Mass.)
Position: Defensive end and tight end
Weight: 245 pounds
Athletic achievement: He has led the Hawks to an 11-0 record and a berth in the Division 1 Super Bowl against Everett, scheduled for Dec. 6. At the time of his selection, Gaziano had recorded 75 tackles, including 10 for a loss, along with eight sacks and two forced fumbles for a defense surrendering just 8.2 points per game. A 2015 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl game invitee, he averaged 41.3 yards per punt and hauled in four passes for 97 yards and a touchdown through 11 games.
Academic excellence: Gaziano has maintained a weighted 3.85 GPA.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally as part of multiple fundraisers to benefit cancer research in honor of his sister, Andrea, who passed away from leukemia in 2006 at the age of 14. He has also donated his time at Xaverian as a peer mentor.
“Joe Gaziano is a beast of a player,” said Alex Campea, head coach of West Roxbury (Mass.) Catholic Memorial. “He’s big, strong and athletic. He is an outstanding blocker offensively and an imposing figure on the defensive side of the ball.”
THE FUTURE: Gaziano has verbally committed to Northwestern.