The Manchester Essex football team has a new-look schedule in 2019 with six brand new regular season opponents.
The Hornets have dropped out of the Cape Ann League in the sport, where they played from 2011-18, and have adopted an independent schedule.
The CAL has been a tough road for Manchester Essex over the last eight seasons, as it sported a record of 11-27 since moving over from the Commonwealth Athletic Conference. With participation numbers becoming an issue, being the smallest school in the conference over the last three seasons was an extremely tough road as the other four CAL Baker schools all play in higher divisions.
The Hornets will be eligible for the postseason this fall in Division 7 North as they have a six-game schedule. The team played five games last fall and was not eligible to play in the state tournament, but rattled off four straight wins to finish 2018 with a 4-5 mark, giving them some momentum heading into this season.
The 2019 team is also more experienced a year ago, with starters returning all over the lineup. With only three seniors havin ggraduated, Hutton has experience all over the lineup with starters returning at 16 of 22 spots.
The Hornets have their starting quarterback back in junior captain Will Levendusky, who threw for 524 yards in nine starts as a sophomore. They also return their leading rusher in junior Gavin Glass (512 yards) and their leading receiver in senior captain Tristan Nowak (147 yards).
Henry Doane will also be serving as team captain, returning to the starting lineup on the offensive and defensive lines.
Hutton also has a combined seven starters returning on the offensive and defensive lines, which should prove to be a big advantage early in the season.
Last year's record: 4-5
Head coach: Jeff Hutton (5th season, 20-22)
Team captains: Henry Doane, Sr. OL/DL; Tristan Nowak, Sr. WR/DB; Will Levendusky, Jr. QB/DB
Leading returning rusher: Gavin Glass (82 carries, 512 yards, 11 TDs)
Leading returning passer: Levendusky (47-for-90, 524 yards, 3 TDs)
Leading returning receiver: Nowak (7 catches, 147 yards, 1 TD)
Did you know?: The Hornets last played a non-Cape Ann League schedule in 2010, when they were in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.