Georgetown Royals Football '07

Georgetown, Manchester draw plenty of attention

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This small-school rivalry is one of the games of the day in Eastern Mass.

The only question now is will there be room around Georgetown High for the glut of television truck and crews in town. Manchester-Essex (8-2) and Georgetown (8-1) collide for the 48th time, the 17th meeting on Thanksgiving, and no meeting has been bigger.

Georgetown, with a victory, takes the Commonwealth Small championship outright and earns a trip to the Eastern Mass. Division 4 playoffs. Manchester has just as much to play for. A co-championship is the Hornets' prize for victory, and that, too, would include a trip to the postseason.

"This is why you play the game," said Georgetown coach Matt Bouchard. "It's what football is all about."

Both teams have high-powered quarterbacks running the show. For Manchester, it's Pat Orlando, who enters the contest with 16 TD passes and another five touchdown runs.

"He's a very talented kid with a heck of an arm," said Bouchard.

Top target Sam Cohen has caught nine of those scoring tosses.

Brian Ciccone is the most dangerous scoring threat, entering the game with 14 touchdowns.

"They've played a lot of close games, and they just find a way to win," said Bouchard of the visitors. "That's a credit to the kids. It's not something you can coach."

Georgetown's Joe Esposito has put together a monster season, matched statistically by few players anywhere in Eastern Mass.

Esposito has run 116 times for 746 yards, scoring 18 touchdowns. He's also thrown 8 TD passes, hitting 68 of 112 passes for 874 yards. And he's only a junior.

"Our goal in the preseason was to put up another banner in our gymnasium," said Bouchard. "It's there for us right now. My thought is that these games are won back in January and February. This is where all that hard work comes to play. We've been tested all year and performed well so far."

Manchester Essex owns a 24-23 advantage in this rivalry. Since these teams started meeting on Thanksgiving in 1991, Georgetown is 10-6.

The Royals took last year's meeting, 28-27.

Did You Know? Fans might want to bring a calculator. Georgetown quarterback Joe Esposito and Manchester QB Pat Orlando have combined for 3,532 yards of offense and 47 touchdowns this year.

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