Manchester Essex and Northeast may not be Commonwealth Athletic Conference rivals with the Hornets moving over to the Cape Ann League in 2011. But that hasn’t stopped the two teams from continuing their rivalry on the gridiron.
Tonight the Hornets and Golden Knights will renew the rivalry in a Division 5 North clash at Northeast Metro Regional Vocational High School (6:00 p.m.). With both teams playing in the same division, the victor will earn 10 points towards divisional playoff standings.
There’s no secrets between Manchester Essex and Northeast, both teams know what the other wants to do and both teams have seen just about everything its opponent will throw at them.
“They’re a strong, tough, well-coached team like they are every year,” Hornets head coach Mike Athanas said. “We know what they’re going to do which is come out and run the ball with the sweep, trap and iso and they know what we want to do too.”
Tonight’s matchup pits a clash of styles, Manchester Essex playing the more wide open, fast paced finesse game and Northeast playing the three yards and a cloud of dust power game.
Offensively Manchester Essex is breaking in a new quarterback in junior Craig Carter, who has had a strong preseason. Athanas hopes to have a balanced offense as the Golden Knights will have to be wary of both Carter in the passing game and senior captain Chris Dumont in the run game.
When the Hornets throw Carter’s favorite target has been Seth Cohen out of the slot this preseason but Dumont can also split out wide and catch the football as well.
“Craig’s looked good this preseason and he’s starting to develop some nice chemistry with Seth Cohen,” Athanas said. “He has a big arm and he’s a smart kid which is going to help him a lot. We want to run the ball too, keep the offense balanced and take what the defense gives us.”