Manchester Essex Hornets Football '08

Sat, Dec 06, 2008 TBA @ Gillette Stadium
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Playoff Game Division 4 Super Bowl
Tri - County 15 14 7 0 36
Manchester Essex 6 0 0 0 6
Manchester Essex's Doug Kenerson catches a touchdown pass from Pat Orlando during their Super Bowl game against Tri-County at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. » Kate Glass, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Hornets dominate Cougars for Division 4 Super Bowl title

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Saturday, December, 06 By Richard Slate
Staff writer

FOXBOROUGH— In the Division 4 Super Bowl against Tri-County, the Manchester Essex football team did what the New England Patriots couldn't do in Super Bowl XXXXII vs. the New York Giants last February.

The Hornets (13-0) capped off an unbeaten season with a dominating 36-6 win over the Cougars (9-3) at Gillette Stadium on Saturday morning.

It was Manchester Essex's first Super Bowl appearance since 2003 and the school's first title since 1999.

Hornets senior quarterback Pat Orlando (9-for-13, 172 yards, 3 touchdowns) not only broke his brother Vinny's school record for career touchdowns (it was 53, now it's 54) in the historic win but he also rushed for 52 yards in one last outstanding high school performance.

"We executed from the beginning," said Hornets head coach Mike Athanas. "We were ready to go. It was special for Pat to get the record, especially with his brother coaching him. We thought it would happen and he deserved it."

Manchester Essex's top-ranked offense in Eastern Mass. made its presence felt early and often as the Hornets scored touchdowns on five of its first six drives.

"They're a very, very good team," Cougars head coach Dan Maclean said about the Hornets. "We knew what we wanted to do but we made some mistakes early and just couldn't get back into it. I can't take anything away from Manchester Essex.

We knew they could pass, Orlando is a great quarterback, he's showed that all year. We were just hoping to contain him a little bit but we couldn't. Offensively, we stalled a lot. Too many mistakes, against a team like that you can't make mistakes. Win or lose, I'm so proud of these kids."

Tri-County senior quarterback Lucas Mistler (5-for-13, 101 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interceptions; 54 yards rushing) and his teammates could only manage 161 yards while Manchester Essex had 400 total yards.

On the Hornets' first drive of the game, they drove 59 yards in nine plays. Refusing to go down, junior running back Ben Kekeisen (39 yards rushing, 58 yards receiving) broke five tackles and ran it in from 11 yards. After a Tri-County penalty, junior Brian Ciccone ran in the two-point conversion for an early 8-0 Hornets lead.

"That's what we were talking about in practice," noted Kekeisen about his impressive carry, "to keep on running. Nothing's going to keep me out of the end zone, I'm playing at Gillette Stadium."

Manchester Essex's defense stopped Tri-County on a fourth-and-2 on the next drive and the Hornets only needed two plays to increase their lead.

Orlando scrambled 20 yards and then he hit Kekeisen with a highlight reel 33-yard catch in the back of the end zone. The junior juggled the perfectly thrown ball by Orlando before hauling it in. Ciccone's kick put his team up 15-0 with 1:37 left in the first quarter.

The Cougars responded with their best drive of the game, four plays covered 68 yards for a score. Mistler found senior Jarred Gaumond (3 catches, 69 yards) with a 45-yard pass in stride for the touchdown on the last play of the first quarter. Tri-County tried a fake kick and pass for the two-point conversion but it was no good.

A seven-play, 63-yard drive for the Hornets to start the second quarter featured the aerial attack of Orlando to Kekeisen and junior Doug Kenerson with helpings of Ciccone and Orlando running the ball.

Kenerson finished it off with a 11-yard touchdown catch from Orlando with 6:53 left in the second quarter. Ciccone's kick gave Manchester Essex a 22-6 lead.

On the first play of the next Cougars drive, Ciccone intercepted an underthrown pass from Mistler.

Manchester Essex turned it over on downs that possession but Tri-County couldn't make the Hornets pay as they eventually punted.

Kekeisen had his number called three times in a row (17-yard catch, 11-yard run and 16-yard catch) for the last Hornets score of the second quarter. Ciccone's kick gave Manchester Essex a 29-6 lead heading into the break.

One of the more underrated aspects of Manchester Essex's championship run and fittingly the story of the second half was their defense. Just like the O'Bryant game in the semifinals, Manchester Essex pitched a shutout over the last two quarters.

Orlando picked off Mistler early in the third quarter and then Ciccone put the game away with an amazing catch.

Over two defenders, Ciccone caught a 44-yard pass from Orlando that went down to the Tri-County 1-yard line. On the next play Ciccone (65 yards rushing) punched it in.

"That catch by Ciccone was awesome," Athanas marveled. "We have too many weapons for people to stop us."

In the fourth quarter, Hornets junior defensive back Seth Young had the third interception of the day for Manchester Essex. Junior running back Pat Hoffman helped to run the clock out as he had 53 yards rushing in the fourth quarter.

With the season finally over, Manchester Essex's Max Quirk will relish the memories from Saturday and the rest of the season forever.

"I'm speechless," said the senior linebacker/offensive lineman. "This is everything I could have hoped for. To play for an undefeated season, in the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium with all these fans here, it's absolutely unbelievable.

We had a couple close games but we know that when we come out and play our game, nobody can roll with us."

Hornets junior Jack Bishop added that, "it's the greatest day I've ever had, winning here. We're going to remember this for the rest of our lives."

Richard Slate can be reached at rslate@gloucestertimes.com


Game Statistics:

First Quarter

ME-Ben Kekeisen 11 run (Brian Ciccone run)
ME-Doug Kenerson 33 pass from Pat Orlando (Ciccone kick)

TC-Jarred Gaumond 45 pass from Lucas Mistler (pass failed)


Second Quarter

ME-Kenerson 11 pass from Orlando (Ciccone kick)

ME-Kekeisen 16 pass from Orlando (Ciccone kick)

Third Quarter

ME-Ciccone 1 run (Ciccone kick)



RUSHING: Manchester Essex — Brian Ciccone 10-65, Pat Hoffman 9-53, Pat Orlando 5-52, Ben Kekeisen 8-39, Alex Carr 2-23, Jack Bishop 3-12, , Tony Tran 1-1, Calvin Cook 4-(-7); Tri-County — Lucas Mistler 14-54, Mike Foster 6-6

PASSING: Manchester Essex — Pat Orlando 9-13-172-3-0; Tri-County — Lucas Mistler 5-13-101-1-3

RECEIVING: Manchester Essex — Ben Kekeisen 4-58, Doug Kenerson 2-44, Brian Ciccone 1-43 , Jim Finn 2-27, Tri-County — Jarred Gaumond 3-69, Chad Todesco 2-32

4 Story Comments

0         JFG

The box score is upside down. You have Tri County winning the game. Please correct this to be fair to the kids and the coaching staff.

Report! #1 12/08/2008 05:10 PM

0         JFG

The box score is upside down. You have Tri County winning the game. Please correct this to be fair to the kids and the coaching staff.

Report! #2 12/08/2008 05:10 PM

0         jmlynchjr

Amesbury smashed Martha's Vineyard in the Division 3A Superbowl at Bentley College. Why was this story not in this section of your website? THAT is not fair to players and coaches either! The way everything else was covered here, it seems that omitting Amesbury's triumph was deliberate. That is very unfortunate. They are good clean kids and excellent football players who deserve more from you.

Report! #3 12/09/2008 11:46 PM

0         IndianFan26

you are absolutely correct; definitely deliberate. This newspaper was not PREPARED for Amesbury's triumphant season; nor was the Boston Globe whose writers are eating their words, and embarrassed, today. Amesbury embarrassed Lawrence, and this paper LOVES Lawrence. Too bad; folks want the REAL news sometimes.

Report! #4 12/28/2008 04:51 PM