MANCHESTER-- Manchester Essex head football coach Mike Athanas praised his team for improving each week and learning how to win tight football games.
In Friday’s Cape Ann League Small tilt with Amesbury at Hyland Field, the Hornets improvements and ability to win tight football games was on full display. Manchester Essex erased Amesbury leads on three occasions and Chris Dumont’s one yard touchdown plunge with 47 seconds to play gave it a 22-18 win.
The win moves the Hornets record to 4-3 and propels them into the Division 5 North playoffs, their first round opponent and seed have yet to be determined. Amesbury falls to 3-4 with the loss and must watch the scoreboard over the weekend to learn its postseason fate.
“We’ve been getting better every week and we’re learning how to win football games and that was one today,” Athanas said. “It was a big win in a big game.”
Hornets senior captain Nate Riehl was also quick to praise his teammates for not giving up, even after falling behind 12-0 in the first half.
“They put up those two scores early and we were worried a little, but nobody got down on themselves and nobody gave up,” Riehl said. “We just kept fighting to the end and we made some big plays in the fourth quarter. It feels great to get into the playoffs.”
It was a total team effort for the Hornets Friday night as everybody who stepped on the field made a key play. Dumont had a pair of touchdown runs and he, along with Riehl and Craig Carter, kept the Indians defense on their heels with an effective running attack. Doug Rodier knocked the ball out of an Amesbury running back’s hands inside the five yard line and Liam Logue made the recovery to thwart a touchdown. Seth Cohen had an interception and a fumble recovery on back-to-back drives and the Hornets offensive line grew stronger as the game wore on.