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Royals blank Hornets in defensive battle

MANCHESTER — After missing a fourth-quarter 23-yard field goal in Thursday morning's Thanksgiving game between Manchester Essex and Georgetown, Hornets senior Danny Oliver-Munn's demeanor summed up the day for Manchester Essex.

Those three points didn't mean the difference between a win or loss as the Royals shut out the Hornets 10-0 at Hyland Field. However, the missed kick (which was caused by pressure off the edge from Georgetown senior Max Mangano) illustrated how close Manchester Essex (3-7) was to winning this contest.

Using a hurry-up offense for the first time all day, the Hornets had just marched down the field, going 74 yards in 15 plays including two clutch fourth-down conversions. They opted for the points on a field goal and then hopefully recovering an onsides kick, but that's not how it played out. The cumulative effect of not making enough plays and committing too many penalties cost the Hornets a win as Georgetown broke a three-game losing streak in the series, which now stands with Manchester Essex leading 27-24 all-time.

"We just execution-wise had some troubles," said Hornets head coach Mike Athanas. "A play here and there but we kept putting ourselves in tough spots by moving backwards."

Georgetown head coach Matt Bouchard was thrilled to see his team get some reward after a tough couple years.

"I think that we've progressed in every week, this was the culmination of all the hard work," he said. "All the adversity that they had to face, I couldn't ask for a better ending."

Manchester Essex only graduates five seniors but it will take a long time to replace senior quarterback Alex Carr (25 carries, 91 yards; 51 yards passing), who did everything he could do to avoid a loss in his last game for the Green and White.

"All year he has taken this team on his back," explained Athanas about his co-captain Carr. "He's a great leader and did as much as he could to keep fighting until the end."

The Hornets received the opening kick and moved the ball thanks to seven straight runs by Carr. But consecutive incompletions caused them to turn it over on downs.

Much like Carr, Royals junior quarterback Tyler Wade (64 yards passing, 60 yards rushing) did everything for his team. After a 32-yard run by senior Derek Depasquale on their second play, Wade ran five straight times before booting a 22-yard field goal for the early 3-0 lead.

Carr fumbled on the first play of the next drive but it didn't come back to bite him as the defense held on a fourth-and-21 from Manchester Essex's 31. After a Manchester Essex punt on the ensuing possession, it took Wade's offense eight plays to score the game's only touchdown on a 20-yard run by Wade. That 10-0 advantage for Georgetown turned out to be the final margin as neither offense could move the ball consistently in the second half and the closest they came to scoring were a missed field goal by each squad.

Athanas hopes this leads to a renewed interest in the offseason program with the underclassmen.

"A lot of young kids played (Thursday)," he said. "They did a great job but there's not much we can do about the outcome. We're losing three starters on both sides of the ball, this whole season was a learning process."

  Rams handle Hornets in battle for CAC Large title

MANCHESTER - Friday night's Commonwealth Athletic Conference Large matchup between Shawsheen and Manchester Essex was supposed to prove once and for all who the top team in the conference was. After a lopsided 48-0 win in which the Rams flexed their muscles on both sides of the ball, they not only proved that they are not only the best team in the CAC, they proved that they didn't have any competition in the league.

When Shawsheen pulled their starters with a 41-0 lead in the third quarter the Rams had outgained their conference rivals 265-35 with just 16 yards rushing for Manchester Essex, they had a 3-0 lead in the turnover battle and had a pair of blocked punts, one of which was run back for a score. The Rams also went the whole game without punting, turning the ball over on downs twice because they took a knee late in the fourth quarter. The Rams defense had Hornets quarterback Alex Carr running for his life all game, sacking him four times.

With the win Shawsheen clinches the CAC Large title and will represent the conference in the Division 4 playoffs.

"They are a very good football team," Hornets head coach Mike Athanas said. "They are big and physical on the lines and we couldn't do anything against them. We had trouble stopping their blitz and they used their size to their advantage in the interior line."

It was evident that it was not going to be the Hornets day very early as they fumbled on their first play from scrimmage. As good teams do Shawsheen made them pay scoring five plays later on an Andrew Dascoli (15 carries, 166 yards) run from 15 yards out to make it 7-0.

Things got worse on their next drive. After Shawsheen forced a three-and-out Matt Costello blocked a Hornets punt giving the Rams great field position. Two plays later the Rams scored on a bizarre play to make it 13-0. Dascoli gained eight yards and fumbled the football at the Hornets 30-yard line but the ball bounced into the hands of Shawsheen's Robert Greenwood who raced to the end zone.

The Hornets showed some life on their next drive moving the ball inside the Shawsheen 10 but a pair of sacks moved them back to the 21 and they later turned the ball over on downs. Shawsheen then put the game away going on a 11-play 79-yard drive that took six minutes of the clock and culminated with a 17-yard touchdown run from Dascoli making it 20-0 midway through the second quarter.

"We didn't help ourselves early on," Athanas said. "And then it just started to snowball. It was a tough game for us tonight but give Shawsheen credit, they forced us to make a lot of mistakes."

The Rams added a Derek Bent touchdown reception from quarterback Ryan Woolaver late in the second to make it 27-0 at the half. They broke the game open even more in the third with three more scores. Dascoli took the opening play of the half 55 yards for the score and a 34-0 lead. Matt Costello would score on a blocked punt and defensive tackle Leonard Houghton scored on a three-yard interception return in the third quarter to cap the scoring.

Hornets pick up big win over Whittier  

Showdown with Shawsheen set for Friday night

The Hornets chalked up a huge win on Saturday with a 15-6 victory over Whittier in Haverhill. The win sets up a showdown this Friday at Hyland Field with  
Shawsheen with kickoff scheduled for 7;00 p.m.  The winner of Friday's contest will be in control of the CAC Large and a bid for the playoffs. 
Whittier struck first scoring just 50 seconds into the game, but that's all the stingy Hornet defense would give up for the remainder of the day. 

Manchester Essex was able to keep the ball out of Whittier's hands the rest of the way, ending the first half with a 15-play drive, and opening the second half with an 11-play drive that resulted in a touchdown and the go-ahead extra point. Meanwhile, Whittier had the ball for just 18 plays, with two first downs, through the first three quarters.

"In the back of our minds we didn't want to give Whittier one of those 10-minute drives plodding down the field that they want," said Hornets coach Mike Athanas. "We wanted to run our offense, and we kept the ball a lot in the first half and the third."

 Alex Carr led the Hornets with 109 yards rushing.  





Carr leads Hornets over Gryphons

Manchester Essex head football coach Mike Athanas said that his team was looking to set the tone on the first drive in Saturday's game against Greater Lowell.

The Hornets, who have been struggling to find their offense in their recent two-game losing skid, did just that in their 21-0 win over the Gryphons in a Commonwealth Athletic Conference Large matchup.

On their opening possession, Hornets (2-5) senior captain and quarterback Alex Carr marched the team 80 yards in nine minutes to put his team up 7-0 with a touchdown on a scramble, a lead Manchester Essex would never relinquish.

"It was good for us to come out on the first possession and have a nice long drive," Athanas said. "It gave us early momentum and confidence in the offense for the rest of the game. And I thought we continued to play well after the score."

The Hornets took their 7-0 lead into halftime and put the game out of reach in the second half on two more rushing touchdowns from Carr to make it 21-0. According to Athanas, the senior quarterback topped 100 yards rushing on the afternoon.

Athanas also praised the play of his offensive line, particularly Paul Pennoyer, Zach Fleming and Julian Flavin. The Hornets head coach also praised Pennoyer and fellow defensive end David Wright for their play on the defensive end as Manchester Essex picked up its first shutout of the season.

"We moved the ball well offensively and a lot of it was due to the play up front," Athanas said. "Same thing defensively, we controlled the line of scrimmage and it was key."

With the win, the Hornets moved to 2-1 in the CAC Large while Greater Lowell fell to 0-7 on the season.

The Hornets now enter one of their toughest and most important stretches of the year, as they face off against defending CAC Large and Division 4 Super Bowl champions Whittier Tech and perennial conference powerhouse Shawsheen in the next two weeks respectively.

"This is a big game against Whittier," Athanas said. "We start getting ready for them (today) and hopefully we have a good week of practice after this week's win and come out and control them on Saturday."

Bulldogs control clock and Hornets

MANCHESTER - North Shore Tech head football coach Paul Worth called his team's 28-14 win over Manchester Essex Friday night "good old fashioned North Shore Tech football." In Worth's second year in his second stint as Bulldogs head coach he brought back the team's old style of play: smash-mouth, clock-eating football.

In Friday's victory at Hyland Field in Manchester, the Bulldogs (6-1) held the ball for an astounding 30 of the game's 44 minutes. When the Hornets defense backed the Bulldogs up and put them in bad spots, the offense made big plays converting four of their five fourth down attempts and more than half of their third down conversions. They also scored a touchdown on each of their first four offensive possessions.

"Time of possession was a killer," Worth said. "We just kept running the ball. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times on penalties but when we did we made up for it by making big plays on third and fourth down."

Hornets (1-5) head coach Mike Athanas echoed Worth's sentiment.

"We just couldn't get their offense off the field," Athanas said. "When we needed to make a big play on defense we just couldn't do it and it hurt us."

North Shore Tech's ball control dominance was on full display in the fourth quarter on a drive where they didn't even score. After Manchester Essex senior quarterback and captain Alex Carr scored on a 10-yard scramble the Hornets cut the Bulldogs lead to 28-14 on the last play of the third quarter. While the Hornets had life, the Bulldogs slowly took it away.

On their ensuing drive North Shore Tech drove the ball 54 yards and took seven and a half minutes off the clock. Manchester Essex may have stopped North Shore Tech on fourth down for the first time in the game but the damage was done as there was just 3:34 left to play in the game.

Manchester Essex drove the ball into Bulldogs territory but a Tyler Cook interception with just under two minutes to play sealed the deal.

"That was a demoralizing drive," Athanas said. "Give (North Shore) credit they made some big plays when they needed to. It was a matter of making a play here and there on defense and we didn't do it."

North Shore Tech opened up the scoring on their opening drive when quarterback Patrick Wood found big tight end Jordan Smith for a 42-yard touchdown. The Hornets, however, came back to take a 7-6 lead early in the second on an 11-yard run by Carr and an Danny Oliver-Munn kick.

"(Manchester Essex) fought hard," Worth said. "They kept fighting until the end and they played pretty well early in the game."

North Shore Tech answered back on their next possession when sophomore fullback Corey Duffy went 42 yards untouched for the score giving his team a 12-6 lead. Jesse Wilkins added a late second quarter touchdown to make it 18-7 at the half.

North Shore Tech continued its offensive dominance in the third quarter when Tim Andersen made it a perfect four touchdowns in four drives scoring on a 1-yard plunge to make it 26-7. The Bulldogs would add a safety on an errant snap on a punt to open up their biggest lead of the day at 28-7.

The Hornets defense may have been focusing in on the North Shore's leading rusher Jesse Wilkins but that opened up plays for his supporting cast, much to the liking of Worth.

"They were keying in on Wilkins which I wasn't surprised by, somebody had to do it eventually," Worth said. "But I thought both Corey Duffy and Tim Andersen ran really hard for us and made some big plays. It was a great effort tonight by our team."

Ipswich puts the clamps on Hornets

MANCHESTER — Ipswich head football coach Ted Flaherty called the play of his defense dominant in their 23-0 win over Manchester Essex on Friday night at a cold and rainy Hyland Field.

Dominant, however, doesn't even begin to describe the beating the Tigers defense put on the Hornets.

Ipswich (3-3) held the Hornets (1-4) to just 36 yards of total offense in the game and an astounding -18 yards of total offense in the second half. The Hornets had just one play for positive yards in the second half, a 1-yard run from quarterback Alex Carr.

"I was very proud of the effort tonight," Flaherty said. "I think this was the first game all year that we played from start to finish, and our defense was just dominant. They controlled the line of scrimmage and controlled the game."

With heavy rain falling onto Hyland Field, the Tigers felt right at home with their smashmouth wing-T style of play. The Hornets, on the other hand, struggled out of the shot gun. The Hornets were also playing without starting running back Calvin Cook, who was sick, but head coach Mike Athanas said the weather wasn't a factor, it was the execution.

"The weather had nothing to do with it, we just didn't execute, we couldn't even run the ball," Athanas said. "We have a lot of things that we have to work on for next week. We lost the battle up front and our backs misread some plays. Overall it was a bad game for us."

The Tigers impressive line play didn't just show up in yardage, it also showed up in field position. Ipswich started just three drives all game in its own territory with the average field position being the Manchester Essex 49-yard line. The Hornets best starting field position of the game was their own 45-yard line and their average starting field position was their own 23-yard line.

"The field position came from our line play," Flaherty said. "We kept pushing them back and it helped set up our offense."

The Tigers got on the board late in the first quarter on a 35-yard run from fullback Brenden Gallagher on a trap play to make it 7-0 after one. Peter Moutevelis made it 13-0 in the second quarter scoring on a 1-yard plunge that was set up by a Brendan Gallagher (different player) interception and run back inside Hornets territory.

Louis Galanis, who led the Tigers with a game-high 85 yards rushing, put the game away early in the second half, taking the Tigers third play from scrimmage in the half 44 yards to the house, giving Ipswich a 20-0 lead. Kicker Kenny Wing added a third-quarter field goal to cap the scoring.

"Give Ipswich credit, they played much better than we did," Athanas said. "We didn't capitalize on a couple of opportunities early and it just kept getting worse for us as the game went on, just a tough night all around."

Hornets down Lynn Tech for first win of season

MANCHESTER— For the first half of Manchester Essex's Commonwealth Athletic Conference Large showdown with Lynn Tech, the Hornets could not do much of anything right on offense. While their defense kept them in the game at 6-6, the offense kept shooting themselves in the foot turning the ball over three times and making several costly penalties.

"It was just sloppy," Hornets head coach Mike Athanas said. "We knew what we wanted to do and we were reading the defense the right way but we couldn't get the open guys the ball, and it was like a snow ball, we just couldn't click."

The second half, however, was a whole different story. The Hornets were firing on all cylinders out-gaining the Tigers 127-51 in the frame en route to a 22-6 win, their first win of the season and their first win at the new Hyland Field.

"It was a much better second half," Athanas said. "We came in the locker room at half time and told the kids to relax and play the way they were supposed to, and they responded in a big way."

Manchester Essex was led by a strong running attack from senior quarterback Alex Carr and senior halfback Calvin Cook. The duo combined for 197 rushing yards (106 for Carr, 91 for Cook) and were the spark the Hornets needed in the second half.

"I have to give credit to the line," Carr said. "They opened up some big holes for us. It was Calvin's day today. I wasn't getting it done throwing the ball and he picked up some big yards for us on the ground. He was the player of the game for us tonight."

The Hornets defense also came up big, especially in the second half as they kept the Tigers nimble quarterback Kennedy Gomes in the pocket preventing him from making big plays.

With the score tied 6-6, Manchester Essex controlled field position but could not get into the end zone in the third quarter. Carr, however, gave the Hornets a lead on the very first play of the fourth quarter on a one yard run. Cook's two point conversion made it 14-6 with 10:53 to play. The drive, which turned out to be the game winner, was all Carr. The senior captain was involved in every play running the ball 6 times for 25 yards and completing two passes to Joe Burgess for 30 yards.

The Tigers looked to answer back on their next drive but Cory Burnham picked off an attempted bubble screen pass from Kennedy to set the Hornets up first and ten at the Tigers 22. Three plays later Cook finished the job scoring from 14 yards out, a Mavrick MacEachern two point pass made it 22-6, where it would stand in the end.

"We were at full strength this week and our offensive line was great," Athanas said. "And our defense was too. They were flying to the ball and playing aggressive and playing to the whistle. It was nice to see."

Carr gave the Hornets a 6-0 lead in the middle of the first quarter but it was quickly answered by Lynn Tech when senior wide receiver Richie Warren made one of the better catches you will ever see a high school kid make. On third and 12 from their own 42 Warren made a leaping one handed grab over the middle of the field and was still able to run 45 more yards for the score.

"That was the only bad play our defense made all game," Athanas said. "But boy was that a great catch. The kid made an amazing grab and had a nice run after it. But after that our defense was outstanding."

Mighty Northeast blanks winless Hornets

Early in the 2010 football season, Northeast Regional has risen to the top as the team to beat in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.

The defending CAC Small and Division 4A Super Bowl champions have ran over every team they have played this season.

On Saturday night, Manchester Essex found out just how good the Golden Knights can be in their 36-0 loss at Hyland Field. The Hornets record fell to 0-3 with the loss, while Northeast moved to 4-0 on the season.

"They are clicking in every facet of the game," Hornets head coach Mike Athanas said of Northeast. "From what I have seen of them this season, they are without a doubt the best team in the conference, large and small."

The Golden Knights used a well-executed wing-T offense to run all over the Hornets defense en route to a 30-0 halftime lead.

"They were doing what they wanted to do at will," Athanas said. "They were running the ball hard and hitting their holes. We missed a few tackles and they made us pay for it."

Senior captain Alex Carr and Paul Pennoyer played well for the Hornets according to Athanas at the quarterback and defensive end spots respectively. Athanas credited Carr for his heart as he did not quit. Pennoyer, on the other hand, drew the respect of his opponents as they did not run to his side because the junior end was giving them problems.

The Hornets will now turn their attention to Lynn Tech, who they host on Friday night (7 p.m.).

"This is a big league game for us," Athanas said. "We need to improve in every facet of the game and play mistake free. We have done some good things here and there in each of our first three games but we haven't put a complete game together, we are looking to do that on Friday night."

Hornets lose CAC large opener

ANDOVER — Despite the presence of one of the state's most prolific running backs, the Greater Lawrence defense is what has the Reggies excited.

One week after shutting out South Boston, Greater Lawrence stifled another opponent on Saturday afternoon with a convincing 18-6 victory over visiting Manchester Essex in the Commonwealth Conference Large opener for both schools.

As the offense struggled, the Reggies' defense was limiting Manchester Essex (0-2) to an average of 2 yards on each of its 26 first-half plays and 154 total yards for the game. Quarterback Alex Carr was intercepted three times and sacked a two more while being hassled on almost all of his 17 attempts that resulted in only 51 yards.

"It was the front four guys who put pressure on their quarterback and made him throw quickly," Reggies coach Tony Sarkis said. "When we had pressure on (Carr) it made him throw it away, so I give credit to all four of those guys."

Those four were defensive ends Carlos Aquino (a junior) and Jake Barchard (a sophomore) and senior tackles Marlon Orellana and Euclides Saldana.

"(Greater Lawrence) controlled the line of scrimmage," Hornets head coach Mike Athanas said. "They got after the quarterback and stopped the run. We had trouble executing on offense. Our pass blocking was not there and our backs were missing holes. This is a young unit that's still getting their feet under them."

Greater Lawrence put the game away late after Aquino put a hit on Carr that resulted in an interception by John Augusta with 2:37 remaining and Greater Lawrence holding a slim 12-6 advantage. The Reggies (3-1) responded with a 5-yard touchdown run by Christian Rivera for the final score two plays later.

"I thought we did some good things but we just couldn't put it all together," Athanas said. "Defensively we were tough. They have some talented players on offense and we contained them. And we were physical too which I really liked."

Greater Lawrence, which took a 7-0 lead early in the second on a 37-yard pass from Jean Carlos Gomez to Marcos Ortiz, rode the legs of Joe Pizzuto for its clinching touchdown.

After taking the second-half kickoff, Pizzuto ran all seven downs of a 60 yard drive which gave the Reggies a 12-6 lead. Pizzuto finished with 108 yards on 21 attempts before being relieved by Rivera early in the fourth quarter.

Carr powered the Hornets rushing attack with 57 yards on 17 carries. Joe Burgess was the leading receiver with 57 yards on three catches. It will not get any easier for the Hornets next week as they host Northeast Regional on Friday at Hyland Field (7 p.m.). The Golden Knights, who are the defending CAC small and Division 4A Super Bowl champions, are coming off of a 24-6 win over defending CAC large and Division 4 Super Bowl champion Whittier on Friday night.

Hornets open new field, but lose 37-6

The Manchester Essex Hornets kicked off their 2010 season tonight with their first-ever game on the new lighted field at the front of the $49 million high school/middle school.

But they did not come up a winner.

Forced to lay without returning quarterback Alex Carr, who suffered a sprained ankle at practice earlier this week, the Hornets were trailing Lynnfield 31-0 at halftime in the game at ME's new Hyland Field.

The debut included brief opening-night ceremonies, including the presentation of a new American flag from the Manchester American Legion.

But Lynnfield's Pioneers came into tonight's game as the defending Cape Ann Small Division champions, and dominated from the start.


The Hornets scored a final touchdown in garbage time, falling to a final score of 37-6.

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