Novi’s D’Annibale sets D-1 record with six TD catches

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Novi — Anthony D’Annibale didn’t know what to expect entering his senior season at Novi after missing 7-on-7 camps with a dislocated elbow.

Apparently, he had nothing to worry about.

Last week, D’Annibale set a Class A/Division 1 state record with six touchdown receptions in a 49-28 victory over Hartland.

“It was like a video game,” D’Annibale said of his touchdown receptions of 10, 24, 23, 10, 19 and 65 yards.

He finished with 12 receptions for 223 yards and six scores — one touchdown off the overall state record held by Detroit Cesar Chavez’s Nate Drew (Oct. 11, 2013 against Mayville).

And, it helped that the 6-foot, 195-pound D’Annibale had an outstanding quarterback throwing him the ball — three-sport standout Alec Bageris.

Bageris, a 6-3, 190-pound senior, went 15-for-21 for 338 yards and the six touchdowns.

“Anthony’s our best athlete and it was really just about throwing the ball up in a place where he could go get it, then let him use his athleticism to get it,” Bageris said. “We expected (Hartland) to make a big shift toward him in the second half, but there wasn’t much that changed. They tried to put a safety over, but it wasn’t quick enough.”

Novi went 6-5 last year to earn its first playoff appearance since 2008 — and got its first playoff win since 2007.

“Last year (D’Annibale) ran great routes, but this year he’s quick with his cuts and it really throws defensive backs off so he’s easier to get open,” Bageris said. “We have a lot of chemistry. He had a lot of catches last year. I threw him the ball a lot.”

Novi coach Jeff Burnside feels fortunate to have his aerial combination, along with 6-4, 180-pound Tray Maddox.

Still, it all starts with Bageris.

“He’s a great leader, a great teammate,” Burnside said. “He throws an incredible deep ball. He’s real good, throws the ball well in tight windows, just gets the job done.”