MANCHESTER: Hawks featuring a two-headed attack

MANCHESTER: Hawks featuring a two-headed attack

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MANCHESTER: Hawks featuring a two-headed attack

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After a 1-8 season, Manchester coach Gerard O’Donnell is relying on two pairs of players to get the Hawks back on track.

O’Donnell hopes to utilize two starting quarterbacks this season: senior incumbent Devin Tomei and senior Kashaun Barnes, a transfer from Matawan. Barnes started the entire season and led the Huskies to a 5-4 record and a playoff berth.

“Those two guys will be on the field for every snap,” O’Donnell said. “I think Kashaun’s ahead of Devin because Devin’s a little hampered by a groin injury. Other than that, we want them both at quarterback and we want them both at receiver.”

“They’re two different types of kids. They both can run. Kashaun’s quicker, Tomei’s got some longer strides. They both throw the ball well. But I think they’re both threats and teams are going to have to be wary of them. I think we have to make teams prepare for both being at quarterback. They’re that important to us.”

“We both really bring the same things,” Barnes said. “Devin’s like a power runner. He’s a big boy. I’m a shifty guy.”

Another key duo for the Hawks will be senior offensive linemen Nick Ientile and Joe Bick, both of whom never played a down together last season due to injuries. Bick played the first four games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury, while Ientile didn’t return from his own knee injury until midway through the season, after Bick was hurt. Both team captains, Ientile will play left tackle and Bick at left guard along the offensive line.

“With them being seniors going through what they went through last year, both of them came into camp in better shape than they were last year,” O’Donnell said. “So for me to watch those two guys together, both sides of the ball, I see an improvement. If those guys are healthy for us, what a difference it’s going to be. Huge impact.”

“It’s behind us now and we’re ready to go,” Bick said. “We have two good kids with the ball, and hopefully we can move the ball and win some games.”

Bick and Ientile’s presence will also be a factor on defense, where Bick plays end and Ientile is at middle linebacker.

“I think Nick’s enjoying his senior year and I think he wants to make sure that his senior year is a good one,” O’Donnell said. “We’re going to surround him with young guys (at linebacker), but he’ll be able to take charge and put those guys in the right place.”

Another team captain is senior running back Amani Richardson, who hopes to bounce back from an injury-riddled season.

“He had an up-and-down year last year, showed some flashes of brilliance, but he was hampered by an injury,” O’Donnell said. “He’s probably our top speed guy. You get him outside, I don’t know if many people can catch him. He’s pretty fast.”

Trying to keep injuries to a minimum is one of the two major points of emphasis this season for O’Donnell. The other is turnovers, an even bigger factor if the Hawks hope to improve upon last year’s record.

“If we go out and do our job I’ll feel fine,” O’Donnell said. “I just don’t want to beat ourselves again. When you turn the ball over, you’re beating yourself. I want to see what we can do if we don’t turn it over. And if we don’t turn it over, hopefully we’ll be in more games. I feel we’re going to be better.”

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