LYNN-- The Manchester Essex football team opened up the regular season in style on Thursday night at Manning Field in Lynn. The Hornets dominated in every facet of the game en route to a 25-0 victory over KIPP Academy in the season opener for both teams.
It was a balanced effort for Manchester Essex on Thursday night as their defense was simply dominant, allowing only 170 yards of total offense and did not allow the Panthers to move inside the 30 yard line. On top of that, the defense forced five turnovers including two fumble recoveries and three interceptions, two from A.J. Pallazola and one from Anthony Rano to preserve the shutout.
The Hornets also had an efficient night offensively with their most impressive drive coming on the opening drive of the game, where they went 69 yards 12 plays and 7:07, culminating with a Gavin Glass 21-yard touchdown run on fourth and long. It was a beautifully designed play as Glass took the handoff on a counter trap, which faked out the entire KIPP defense, and ran into the end zone almost untouched for a 6-0 Hornets lead.
Quarterback Will Levendusky hit Tristan Nowak on a 22-yard slant on a third and long in their own territory to keep the scoring drive alive.
Manchester Essex struck again late in the first half after recovering a KIPP fumble in the Panther 35 yard line. Glass again capped off the drive with a four-yard plunge to extend the lead to 12-0, where it stood at the half.
KIPP put together its best drive of the game to open the second half as they rumbled 57 yards, all from running back Daniel Oluwasuyi, into Manchester Essex territory, but Pallazola’s second interception of the night stalled the drive and the Manchester Essex offense took back over at its own 14.
After trading punts, the Hornets found the end zone again as Levendusky’s 33 yard completion to Frank Wood set up the junior signal caller’s one yard plunge on fourth and goal to make it 18-0.
The Hornets capped the scoring with just over three minutes to go when Levendusky hit Alex Furse for a 26 yard touchdown strike. Levendusky threw for 113 yards and a score. Wood led the way receiving with 58 yards on two receptions, one of them a long touchdown that was negated by a hold downfield. Glass led the rushing attack with 85 yards.
Manchester Essex (1-0) has a week off before heading to Brighton on Friday, September 20 (7 p.m.).