Great expectations for MHS football team

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., Aug. 23, 2012
Andrew Isaacs, a Division 1 athlete, runs around cones during practice. Photos by Christian Mysliwiec.
Andrew Isaacs, a Division 1 athlete, runs around cones during practice. Photos by Christian Mysliwiec.

As the Manchester High School football team begins the season, head coach Marco Pizzoferrato looks forward to coaching a team that has an extremely strong core group. “We have a talented, very athletic group,” said Pizzoferrato. “I would venture to say we have the best 11 kids that we can put on the field at one time in the state.”

Five athletes stand out in particular. Andrew Issacs is ranked number seven in the country as tight end. Pizzoferrato explains that he dropped from second place because of an ACL injury he sustained in the second to last game last year, and therefore could not participate in camps during the summer. Isaacs is receiving invitations to go to All-American games.

“I've never coached a Division 1 athlete on my football team, and I've been doing it [coaching] for 18 years,” he said. “It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's something special.”

Isaacs decommitted from Boston College to commit to Maryland University, where he wants to study broadcast journalism.

Marquis Little is also one to watch. “He was on no one's radar screen going into the summer camps, and has put himself into a position to earn a scholarship as a defensive player at the next level, possibly at Boston College, University of Massachusetts, Stony Brook, as an outside linebacker,” Pizzoferrato said. “The only reason why he wasn't offered that in camps is because he never played defense before.” He will have to prove himself to secure a scholarship at the school he wants.

Offensive lineman Chris Simmons is also positioned to receive a full scholarship. “He's drawing the attention of the Ivy League schools,” Pizzoferrato said. He has his sights on Yale - a hope that can be a reality depending on his SAT scores.

After receiving an injury last year but returning on the scene in incredible shape, Elijah Udoh has drawn attention from 1 Double A schools for his performance at camps, said Pizzoferrato. “He's going to be a secret weapon,” he said.

He also points out Ashton Grant, who has grown physically and mentally every year. “His work ethic in the weight room is matching his intensity and desire to play in the next level,” said Pizzoferrato. Schools at the 1 Double A level have expressed interest in him as a safety or wide receiver.

“That's a talented group. But talent is one thing. It doesn't take five to play the game, it takes 11,” he said. The challenge for Pizzoferrato is to build up the team so that 11 strong players work together on the field. “This season can be spectacular, or a disaster,” Pizzoferrato said.

“It's going to be important for us to be sharp, disciplined and stay focused,” he said.

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