Essex seeks to prove itself as D1 contender

Hornets reached semifinals in 2019
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 9:55 PM EDT
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ESSEX, Vt. (WCAX) - The first week of the high school football season gets underway Friday with nine games going on around the state of Vermont, several of them pitting playoff teams from two years ago against each other. One of those will be a rematch of a D1 quarterfinal matchup between Essex and Rutland.

Essex stunned many when they went down to Rutland and dominated their hosts from start to finish, advancing to their first state semifinal since 2014. We didn’t get a chance to see the Hornets in pads last year with the move to the 7-on-7 format to try and mitigate COVID concerns, but Essex acquitted themselves pretty well in the Burlington area as well.

With a return to normal football this Fall and a new coaching staff led by Marty Richards, who was at the helm as MMU claimed the 2018 D1 State Championship, Essex fancies themselves contenders.

“I haven’t had a group that’s worked this hard in awhile,” Richards said. “I took a couple years off and the seniors that we had at MMU that last year worked. They were hard workers like this. So if there’s any parrallels, hopefully that pays off in the end, that we can have a really successful season because this group was really willing to be coachable and they put in the effort.”

“I’d say the biggest standout is our underclassmen,” added senior quarterback Ben Serrantonio. “They come out to practice every day and they want to compete against other kids, which is great because it helps us get better when they are going hard on scout ‘O’ and scout ‘D.’ And then this senior class is just super committed. You know, we’ve worked all summer, all winter getting our bodies ready and now we’re just putting the final touches on and getting ready to play.”

The Hornets open their season Friday night at Rutland, and you can catch the first week of the Friday Football Frenzy at 11 p.m. on WCAX.

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