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November 14, 2013

Desperate Manning pushes Central forward

LAWRENCE -- Cam Manning relishes every minute left in his football career.

“Every game could be the last one that really means something. I mean, it’s just about over,” said the senior outside linebacker, who with his Central Catholic mates travels to Everett High tomorrow (1:30 p.m.) for the Division 1 North football championship game. “I’ve played football for nine years now. It’s made me a man. And anytime now, it could be done. Of course, you feel it.”

Manning and Central so far have lived the football dream. Rolling through the Merrimack Valley Conference large division unbeaten, their only blemish was to a team that is no more -- St. John’s Prep with Johnny Thomas.

For the two-year starter, the rewards have been well-earned.

It all could end for Manning, who is not planning on ever playing the game again. He’s focusing on big schools, including Michigan State and the University of Colorado, where the college experience is top priority.

“It’s all about my future now, doing what’s best for me to ultimately get a good job,” said Manning, who just the javelin in track. “Football isn’t part of that, at least not playing it.”

His coach, Chuck Adamopoulos, is 100 percent behind the decision.

He said, “He’s a good kid, who’s worked hard to get where he is. So, I get the feeling that things are going to work for him.”

Manning has blossomed this fall after being almost exclusively a pass rusher as a junior.

“It was pretty much all we asked,” said Adamopoulos. “But this season, he’s done a lot more in coverage and against the run. In turn, it’s allowed our defense to do a lot more.”

Part of it was maturing. There was also an extension of responsibility.

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