By Nick Curcuru and Rich Slate
FOXBOROUGH — As they have all season, the three big playmakers on the Manchester Essex football team came up with huge games once again in the Hornets' 36-6 victory over Tri-County in the Division 4 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.
Ben Kekeisen, Pat Orlando and Brian Ciccone carried the Hornets offense.
Early in the game it was Kekeisen making the plays as he caught two passes on the first drive of the game and scored from 10 yards out after breaking five tackles. Once the defense keyed in on Kekeisen, Ciccone made big plays hauling in a 43-yard catch and leading the Hornets in rushing with 65 yards. Ciccone and Kekeisen combined to gain 205 yards of total offense.
"You can't stop us both," Kekeisen said. "Early on I got some yards and Brian did it later in the game. (Ciccone) is so fast, once he gets a seam he is gone."
Orlando, of course, also did his part, throwing for 172 yards and three TDs.
Kraft loves Super Saturday
Patriots owner Bob Kraft is responsible for getting the high school Super Bowl games at Gillette Stadium the last two years. Kraft is a big fan of the system and hopes to have the games there for years to come.
"Our family is thrilled to have the High School kids play here," Kraft said. "They will establish memories they will take with them for the rest of their lives. The games are recorded and will be on file at Patriots Place so these kids can come down 20 years from now and watch the games."
With its Super Bowl victory, Manchester Essex will now have a team jersey enshrined in the Patriots Hall of Fame for the next year. That was also a nice touch from Kraft.
Circus catches a plenty
The Hornets also brought their hands to Gillette Stadium, coming away with three memorable circus catches.
Junior receiver Doug Kenerson made the first tough catch as he recovered after a bobble to bring in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Orlando. Kenerson appeared to have dropped the ball, but he reached back and hauled the pass in before it could hit the ground.
Ciccone delivered the second big catch by putting his 6-foot-4 frame to good use as he leaped over two defenders and hauled in a diving catch at the 1-yard line.
"That was an amazing catch," Kekeisen said. "He jumped over two guys and took it away from their best player (Lucas Mistler)."
Orlando delivered the third circus catch when he picked off Mistler in the fourth quarter. Orlando dove for the ball after it was tipped by Colin Lyne to come away with the pick.
Manchester Essex finished off the season with 486 points, tops in the state. What's most impressive is that 486 points is good for eighth on the all-time state scoring list.
North Shore Tech honored
At halftime of Manchester Essex's 36-6 route of Tri-County, North Shore Tech was honored with the State Sportsmanship Award. Bulldogs captain and Gloucester native Eric Josephson was there with his team to receive the award.
Manchester Essex once again proved that it is not just all about offense in dominating Tri-County. The Hornets defense, which was led by defensive tackle Ben Smith and linebacker Max Quirk, held quarterback Lucas Mistler, who had over 900 passing yards and 1200 rushing yards on the year, to just 54 yards rushing and 101 yards passing on the game.
"We play team defense and it showed again today," said Quirk, a senior tri-captain and linebacker. "We were keying on Mistler, he is a great player, but our entire defense was able to shed blocks and get to him."
Tri-County head coach Dan Maclean was very impressed with the Hornets defense.
"Everything we tried didn't work," Maclean said. "And it was because they are so talented. I tip my hat to them.Lecky shows off
Perhaps the most impressive athlete in the Division 2A Super Bowl between Gloucester and Duxbury was Dragons senior wide receiver and cornerback Hakeem Lecky.
He caught four passes for 88 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown pass from Duxbury QB Sean Cross that tied the game at 14 early in the second quarter.
That score came right after the Fishermen had their only lead of the game (14-7). Lecky wore flashy neon green receiving gloves that were reminiscent of former Patriots receiver Deion Branch but he backed the fashion choice up with his play.
"We practiced spreading the ball around all week," said Lecky. "We watched the film and wanted to run a lot of our passing game. Gloucester played tough, both teams were out there fighting hard. We knew it would be like that."
After moving from Nantucket to Duxbury, Lecky didn't even play football his junior year. He will be taking his outstanding lacrosse skills as a midfielder to Syracuse University next fall.
"He's a special kid, we only had him for just one season," said his head coach Dave Maimaron. "It's unfortunate, if we had him for four years, he could have been a Division 1 football player."