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December 8, 2008

Orlando completes his legacy with Hornets

FOXBOROUGH - Pat Orlando walked off the plush Gillette Stadium field turf with a feeling of fulfillment on Saturday morning.

In The House that Brady and Belichick built in Foxborough, the Manchester Essex senior captain and quarterback was able to capture the only thing that was missing from his very accomplished high school football career - a Super Bowl title.

Orlando's Hornets rolled past Tri-County, 36-6, to win the Eastern Mass. Division 4 Super Bowl and complete a perfect 13-0 season. Orlando, the game's best player, was a big reason for the victory, completing 9 of 13 passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 52 yards and picked off a pass from Cougars' quarterback Lucas Mistler.

It was the proverbial icing on the cake to the career of the three-year starter, who had an ear-to-ear smile after his team accepted its championship trophy on the Gillette Stadium concourse.

"This is the best feeling ever," said Orlando, who led the Hornets to their first Super Bowl title since 1999. "To end my career with a championship and go 13-0 is unbelievable. This is the best team that I've ever played on."

Orlando, the name that has become synonymous with Manchester Essex football, also set a new school record for career touchdown passes with 54. He surpassed his older brother, Vinny (2000-2003), who had 53.

"All week my brother was joking that I wasn't going to break his record," said Orlando. "But he congratulated me and he was really happy for me. It's an awesome feeling."

The accolades and stats have always been there for Orlando. His 25 touchdown passes ranks among the leaders in Eastern Mass. this year, and he has thrown for over 4,000 yards in his career. But until this fall, he has somewhat been kept secret, as he never had a chance to play on a Super Bowl stage.

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