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New Manchester Football Preview: Jaguars seek first postseason
by E. Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
August 20, 2014 10:57 AM | 801 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>From left, New Manchester seniors Omahri Jarrett, Kreg Jenkins and Jacob Battle get ready for football practice. The Jaguars won six contests last season.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
From left, New Manchester seniors Omahri Jarrett, Kreg Jenkins and Jacob Battle get ready for football practice. The Jaguars won six contests last season.
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New Manchester enters its third year of varsity football coming off its most successful campaign in the program’s short history. The Jaguars won six contests and placed fifth in their region, which was one spot short of making the postseason. 

With 35 seniors returning to its roster, New Manchester looks poised to make a run for its inaugural playoff appearance in 2014.

“We had a great offseason and are excited to have our first senior class,” said Jaguars’ head coach Rob Cleveland. “These kids have been with us all four years. There’s a lot of talent and leadership in that group.”

Leading the charge will be senior running back and Georgia Tech-commit Omahri Jarrett, who had eight total touchdowns last season. Junior Brian Herrien was the Jaguars’ leading rusher last season with 657 yards on the ground along with eight touchdowns. 

Junior dual-threat quarterback Tabashi Thomas will start for New Manchester. He had 2,042 total yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Senior Jacob Battle had a team-high 502 yards receiving last year.

“All of us went to middle school together and put together the pieces of the program with our chemistry,” Battle said. “We’re expecting to have a good season and make the playoffs.”

Cleveland said his offensive line returns a young group that has come together throughout the offseason.

Defensively, the Jaguars return a strong unit that allowed only 22 points per contest last season. 

“We return six starters and feel more geared to stop the run than in previous years,” Cleveland said. “We’ve done a good job of stopping our opponents’ passing game the past few years.”

The defense will be led by seniors C.J. McPherson, who had a team-high 90 tackles last season, and defensive end Kreg Jenkins with 15 tackles for loss in 2013.

“We’re trying to get everyone to attack the ball and make plays as a team,” Jenkins said.

“If we stay healthy and the ball bounces right, we’re cautiously optimistic about this season,” Cleveland said.

NEW MANCHESTER

Head Coach: Rob Cleveland, 11th year as a head coach (45-48-0), fourth year at New Manchester (10-12-0).

Region: 5-AAAAA

Last season: 6-4 overall; fifth in Region 5-AAAAA

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