It may have been the first scrimmage of the year for the Manchester Essex football team Saturday against Pentucket at Hyland Field, but that did not mean the Hornets entered the game with nothing to play for.
With several starting jobs on the team still open, many of the Hornets were out there Saturday fighting for a starting job. There was no game planning, just base formations for both teams on both sides of the ball. Saturday’s scrimmage wasn’t about winning or losing, it was about evaluating what kind of talent each team has.
“We have a bunch of spots that need to be filled and we really looked closely at those position battles Saturday,” Hornets head coach Mike Athanas said. “We were evaluating kids (Saturday).”
The scrimmage was ran in standard preseason format where each team runs 10 offensive plays before switching off. Both teams had their share of strong plays but it was the defenses that stood out as neither starting defense allowed a score on Saturday.
As is typical in any early season scrimmage, Manchester Essex was a bit of a mixed bag.
On the positive end Athanas appreciated the physical play of both his offense and defense. He also praised the play of offensive linemen Doug Rodier, Julian Flavin and Chris Wright along with defensive ends Will and Mike Davis.
“Our lines were physical against a pretty good sized team,” Athanas said. “They ran the wing-t and we tackled well. Offensively I thought the line got a good push in the running game and Jake Fitzgerald ran the ball well. We didn’t get into the end zone but I liked the way we moved the ball.”
Athanas also pointed out that there were also things the team needs to work on. The Hornets head coach thought his team could work on its down field blocking and also expected his senior laden offense to be a little more crisp.
“I thought we would look a little sharper,” Athanas said. “We were a little too sloppy for a senior laden team. We will be working on that this week.”
Manchester Essex will be right back at it on Friday night with another scrimmage, this one, however, will be a simulated game.
The Hornets are looking to improve on a 5-6 record in 2011, their first season in Division 4 of the Northeastern Conference/Cape Ann League. The team brings back a bevy of offensive weapons as it returns all but one of its starting skill position players from 2011.
They are led by their five captains in John Beardsley, Cory Burnham, Jake Fitzgerald, Julian Flavin and Zach Fleming.