As you've pointed out on previous threads people in the non-catchment area could have scored higher and be more deserving of a place but due to LEA policies priority is given to catchment area candidates.
I know I would say this as we live in Skipton's catchment area (which is loopy in shape, going about three miles south and twenty miles north) but I'd rather places went to kids who live nearer the school. Even at SGHS our eldest has mates from Ilkley, Burley, Cowling etc - if they went down the "super grammar" route of doing it only on rank order then you'd have children travelling from Leeds and beyond, which doesn't seem sensible.
I'm sure your lad'll be fine with that place. As Herman says there's lots of other options for boys in that area. I went to LRGS (as a boarder) and loads of boys came from Burnley, Blackburn and other bits of east lancs.