Manchester Essex Hornets Football '08

Sat, Oct 25, 2008 TBA @ Northeast
Team Final
Manchester Essex 43
Northeast 16

Kekeisen's five-TD night lifts Manchester Essex to another win

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Sunday, October, 26 By By Nick Curcuru

 GLOUCESTER - According to Manchester Essex head football coach Mike Athanas, the team's offense has been so effective because they have so many weapons. When opposing defenses key in on one player, the Hornets aren't hesitant to go to another.

In the Hornets' Commonwealth Small matchup with Northeast Regional on Saturday, it was Ben Kekeisen's turn to put up big numbers. The junior tailback finished the game with 166 yards rushing and five touchdowns to lead the Hornets (7-0) to a 43-16 win over the Golden Knights at Newell Stadium.

"Ben has been a spark plug for us this year," Athanas said. "He runs hard and he knows what to do when he gets the ball. If team's try to shut one guy down we have other options we can go to. Last week it was Brian (Ciccone) and Pat (Orlando), this week it was Ben playing a great game."

While running all over the Golden Knights defense, Kekeisen was just having fun.

"It was a good time, a lot of fun," Kekeisen said. "It's pretty easy getting big yards when I have my line blocking for me. They did a great job controlling the line of scrimmage and I took advantage of it."

Kekeisen gave the Hornets a 6-0 lead on their first drive of the game when he raced 50 yards off tackle past the Northeast defense. He would add two more touchdowns on the Hornets next two drives on runs of 24 and five yards respectively to make it 21-0.

The Hornets would add insult to injury on the ensuing kickoff of Kekeisen's third touchdown. Northeast's return man picked up the ball inside the five and inexplicably ran backwards into the end zone where he was met by the Hornets kickoff team for a safety and a 23-0 Hornets lead.

The Golden Knights finally got their offense going at the end of the first half driving inside the Hornets 5-yard line. The drive, however, stalled with no time left in the half when the Hornets defense stuffed half back Korey Keane at the one to end the half with both momentum, and a three-touchdown lead.

"Our running game was really working in the first half," Athanas said. "And our defense was good too. They bent a little bit, which happens, but they didn't break."

Kekeisen once again led the Hornets to the end zone in their first drive of the second half when he ran in from 36 yards out. Kekeisen looked to be stopped at the line of scrimmage and the 10-yard line, but he was able to break free both times to get into the end zone and give the Hornets a 30-0 lead.

Northeast, however, would answer back on its next drive when a 50-yard run from Chris MacDonald set up an 11-yard run from quarterback Christian O'Leary to make it 30-8. Kekeisen would answer back on the next drive with a 4-yard score to make it 37-8 after three.

Hornets Sophomore running back Calvin Cook added a fourth quarter touchdown, as did Northeast back Korey Keane.

Kekeisen credited his team for their focus. As the Hornets came out fired up after dropping a 30-28 decision to the Golden Knights last year. In 2008, the Hornets have treated every team with the same respect, whether it's 2-5 Northeast, or 5-2 Whittier Tech.

"The team has been very focused this season," Kekeisen said. "We are very experienced and we know what to expect every week. So far we have been prepared for whoever we play."

Athanas echoed Kekeisen's sentiment, saying that the team's preparation and motivation is what has set the Hornets apart from other good teams so far this season.

"These kids know that any given Saturday somebody can beat you, and they treat every team the same way," Athanas said. "They remembered last year and they responded. We laid out some goals at the beginning of the season and this team knows exactly what it takes in order for us to achieve all of those goals."

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