By Nick Curcuru
---- — LYNNFIELD- The Manchester Essex football team did not have much room for error Saturday on the road against an unbeaten Lynnfield team that has aspirations of a return trip to the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately the Hornets did not turn in one of their better efforts of the season and the result was a 42-0 shellacking at the hands of the Cape Ann League Small leaders. Manchester Essex falls to 2-2 with the loss, Lynnfield improves to 4-0.
"(Lynnfield) is a good football team and they're going to do very well going forward," Athanas said. "I don't think the effort was there today and I don't like that. If we're going to get beat we get beat but we need to play and I don't think we played our hardest today."
It was all Pioneers from the get-go as their starters set the tone early and only needed to play 22 minutes. At the break Lynnfield had a 35-0 lead while out-gaining the Hornets 248-37 scoring on four of its six drives adding a defensive touchdown as well. The Manchester Essex offense was held to just a pair of first downs, one aided by a pass interference penalty.
The Lynnfield defense started by forcing a three-and-out and the offense kept the momentum going with a seven play 55 yard driving culminating with a Kyle McGah nine yard touchdown run to make it 7-0.
The Hornets defense looked to be getting something going forcing a punt on Lynnfield's next possession going into the second quarter trailing just 7-0. But the Pioneers would open the floodgates in the second frame.
A 33 yard run from Adam Buchanan on the Pioneers next drive set up an 11 yard McGah touchdown run to make it 14-0.
After forcing another three-and-out on defense split end Matt Kramich hooked up with Jonathan Knee on a sweep pass for a 55 yard score and a 21-0 lead.
A Jake Rourke 10 yard interception return and a 57 yard catch and 66 yard touchdown reception from Knee on a bubble screen capped the first half scoring at 35-0. The damage was done, the game was put out of reach and the second and third teams handled the second half.
According to Athanas the Hornets woes on Saturday started during the week at practice.
"We didn't have a good week of practice and it showed in the way we played today," he said.
The bad news for Manchester Essex is that it falls to 1-1 in the Cape Ann League Large, a game behind the 2-0 Pioneers. But the good news is the loss does not cripple the Hornets postseason chances the way it would have in years past.
Athanas and the Hornets will now put Saturday's game behind them on focus on the three remaining Cape Ann League Small games as a wild card berth in the playoffs is still well within reach. The important three game stretch begins on Saturday when the Hornets travel to 1-3 Hamilton-Wenham, which is also 1-1 in CAL Small play.
"It's a completely different system now so we are still in it," Athanas said. "We have three big games coming up in our league against three good teams, if we win those games we're in good shape. We will put this loss behind us, talk about it now and get to practice to work on Hamilton-Wenham. We need to have a short memory."