Amesbury Indians Football '07

Opposites attract

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Tuesday, November, 27 By John Shimer
Staff writer

In Amesbury's first run to the playoffs, two very different, yet central figures have emerged as stars on both sides of the ball.

One, Jared Flannigan, is easily recognizable, playing the glorified position of quarterback and having lead his team to three straight wins. The other Nick Eaton | a 300-pound defensive lineman | impossible to miss because of his size and equally dominant ability to chew up opposing team's lineman.

While Flannigan did not start at quarterback to start the season, it became quite evident as the season wore on he was the guy for the Indians.

"We thought in the offseason there was the possibility he could play quarterback, especially with the history of his brother E.J. playing the position a couple of years back, but we started in the backfield to begin the season," said coach Thom Connors. "Early on though we decided to make a change. He split time with Dave Smith at QB before we gave Jared the nod as our guy, and obviously it has worked out quite well."

As Newburyport found on Thanksgiving, Flannigan can be quite the playmaker when the opportunity presents itself. Flushed out of the pocket, Flannigan tossed up a perfect 24-yard strike to Jesse Burrell for the Indians' only offensive score of the game.

"He's a baseball kid, so you know he has the arm, but he's also a great athlete with deceptive speed and great elusiveness," said Connors. "He's a threat every time he touches the ball, we don't just have him back there to hand off the ball.

"One of our favorite things to do is put him in playaction and give the run-pass option," Connors added. "He has been coached to either chuck it or tuck it, but make that decision fast, and he's so smart back there he normally makes the right decision."

Eaton, on the other hand, is the exact opposite type of a player, a true trench warrior, and someone that has really excelled on the grandest of stages.

"I don't know what it is about that kid, but he just loves to play on Thanksgiving," said Connors of his captain. "Last year he was tremendous and this year was so rocksteady once again."

A mass of humanity, Eaton eats up offensive or defensive lineman depending whether he's playing at nose guard or left tackle.

"He's pretty tough to move even when he's not moving, but you get him heading forward and he just becomes a beast," Connors said. "With injuries on our offensive line, he has become our starting left tackle, but the thing he does best is on the other side of the ball.

"He's so big, he plugs the holes and the opposition has to double him," Connors stated on Eaton's terrific run-stopping talents. "When they do that, it leaves somebody unblocked, hopefully one of our linebackers, and that allows those guys to pursue the way we want on defense."

Although Flannigan and Eaton can't win their upcoming battle with Greater Lawrence, both players better have another big time performance ready for their high flying Reggie opponents for Amesbury to stay in the game.

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