Boston International 3 Manchester Essex 1
The Hornets (8-8-4) ran into a buzz saw that was Boston International in the Division 3 North First Round on the road Sunday night.
“I thought we played them tough,” Hornets head coach Rob Bilsbury said. “They’re a quality team with a lot of good players. I definitely thought we brought some good energy but they kicked their game into another level of physicality and talent that we weren’t ready for. I definitely thought we played them tough but they got the better of us.”
Boston International took a 1-0 lead early and extended that lead to 2-0 late in the first half when the Hornets defense lost a Boston International forward on a perfect corner kick.
Midway through the second half Boston International struck again to push the lead to 3-0. Manchester Essex cut into the lead in the waning minutes when Sean Gutierrez, normally a defender, headed in a long indirect floated by Will Nadai.
Although Boston International picked up the win, Manchester Essex polished off a strong season where it competed in the shark tank that is the Cape Ann League and qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2006.
The highlight of the year for Manchester Essex came in the final week of the regular season where it went 3-0-1 to get into the tournament and then picked up a dominant tournament win at home against Maimonides on Friday.
“This was an awesome season, a season I will never forget,” Bilsbury said. “This is a great group of guys and it was an unforgettable last couple of weeks with great team performance after great team performance.”
Manchester Essex 17
The Hornets move to 2-7 on the year and picked up a much needed NEC/CAL Tier 4 win on the road Friday night.
Senior captain John Beardsley kicked the winning field gal for the Hornets with under two minutes to play and then picked off a pass on the Tigers final drive to preserve the win. Beardsley also had more than 100 yards receiving and both of the Hornets’ two touchdowns in the win.
“Beardsley had a great game without a doubt,” Manchester Essex head coach Mike Athanas said. “He and (quarterback) Cory Burnham were great. The conditions were tough with heavy rain all night but we threw the ball well. Cory and John are the ones that make our offense go.”
The Hornets got on the board in the second quarter trailing 7-0 when Burnham hit Beardsley for an eight yard touchdown pass.
Burnham would hook up with Beardsley again in the form of a 70 yard hitch and go for a touchdown in the second half.
With the score knotted at 14 a piece Burnham drove the Hornets deep into Tigers territory. His long run inside the 10 yard line set up Beardsley’s winning 20 yard field goal.
Athanas also credited the play of his defense, most notably linebackers Doug Rodier and Henry Gedney.
“We gave up a big run for their first score but we really settled in and played some tough defense after that,” Athanas said. “Doug Rodier and Henry Gedney both had great games. It was a nice win, a league win which is always great and we’ll take it.”