Football – Moving Forward: 2016 Manchester Preview
After a tough first two seasons in his coaching career at Manchester, head coach Bill Furlong and the rest of the Hawks coaching staff are looking toward a promising 2016 campaign.
Offensively, the Hawks will run a multiple system anchored by three-year starting quarterback Jerry Ward. The senior brings veteran leadership along with athleticism and a firm grasp of the offense. Along with Ward, the Hawks will rely heavily on the legs of running back Jalen Glenn, a two-year starter. Glenn, according to Furlong, is a versatile back that brings speed, vision and great hands out of the backfield as another receiving option.
Receivers Tariq Ali and Alex Lunn will be the downfield threats that are explosive for yards after catch. Both senior wide receivers will look to open the middle of the field for third year starter and fellow senior, Chris Blaine.
Defensively, the Hawks will be a hard-hitting and quick-to-the-ball group that will look to force turnovers and limit big plays that hurt them a year ago. Glenn is one of the leaders of this physical group that will start for the second year at corner. Along with Glenn, other defensive backs that will look to make a name for themselves this season are Bobby Hart and Lunn. Applying pressure from the defensive end positions will be Jsan Santos and Blaise Lawson with Dan Morales and Jake Lloyd returning as defensive tackles.
The Hawks will have a couple of newcomers playing key roles this season, including senior first-year player Matt Miggliaccio, a former soccer player, who will take over the kicking duties. Along with Miggliaccio, Nick Nuccio and Eric Cowan will be called upon for offensive production at wide receivers while Quint Kearns will compliment Glenn at running back.
Coach Furlong believes after a couple of years in the system, his veteran group is ready to take that step forward and get back to winning football at Manchester for the first time since 2010.
“We have a good group of backs and receivers along with a returning quarterback that is smart with the ball,” Furlong said. “Hopefully we will have a balanced attack on offense spreading the ball around while on defense our defensive backs are much improved.”
Head Coach: Bill Furlong, third season (20th overall).
Career record: 72-81.
2015 record: 1-9 (1-6).
Assistant coaches: Karl Schaeffer (OL/DE); Joe Serratelli (WR/LB); Mark Mernone (DL); Berkeley Hutchinson (OLB/QB); Bill Hill (RB/DB); Brian Elias, Paul Findlow (freshman); Cathi Yayac (athletic trainer).
Big Shoes to Fill: The offensive line.
Manchester’s standout last season was all-division offensive lineman Phil Pender, so the Hawks need someone to step up and become the leader of that unit.
X-Factor: Offensive consistency
The Hawks finished near the bottom of the Shore Conference in scoring last year and will have to improve their if they are to climb out of the Class B South basement.
Glue Guy: Jerry Ward, Jr., QB
As a three-year starter, Ward has command of the offense and the trust of his teammates in the huddle.
Impact Newcomer: Matt Miggliaccio, Sr., K
A converted soccer player, Miggliaccio will step in as the Hawk’s starting kicker.
Pivotal Game: Sept. 9 at Lakewood
The Hawks have won just one game against Shore Conference opponents over the last two years, so season-opener against a talented Lakewood team will be a good barometer for Manchester.