MANCHESTER – The Manchester Township High School Hawks Football Team made history early this season with a winning streak while sporting their new white uniforms at away games.
It was the first time in school history the team opened a season 4-0, the coach said. The team has 50 varsity players and with freshmen the total is 70.
The MTHS Marching Band scored a big win as well. They won first place in their group at the Southern Regional High School Marching Band Competition earlier in the month with a score of 75.3.
The Marching Band hosted a competition called “Music Under the Stars” on the MTHS Football Field.
This season has proven to be an exciting time for not only the players, cheerleaders and the marching band but Head Football Coach Thomas Farrell. “It is a testament to the kids and the community has rallied around behind them. Manchester Football deserves to win and it is good to see us in a positive light.”
Farrell and Tim Poss, who was recently sworn in as a member of the Board of Education, talked to The Manchester Times about the fundraising campaign that provided brand new white uniforms for the team.
“I have a lot of alumni on my coaching staff and they are proud of what this regime is doing here and they wanted to give back and some local businesses that wanted to be part of Manchester football and so we fundraised for new uniforms,” the coach said.
“They came out beautiful. A lot of people helped out to get to where we are now and the kids love them. We have all white jerseys for away games which they love,” the coach said. The team has blue jerseys for home games. “Those have some white stripes to them. We also switched to white helmets and instead of blue pants we have white pants.”
“We raised $28,000. We had a spaghetti dinner and received some generous donations. The old uniforms really looked terrible. They were black and blue. Tommy and I reached out to local businesses and one of the builders in the area donated over $10,000,” Poss said.
Poss served as a volunteer assistant DB coach for the program and grew up in the township. He played in one of the few playoff games that the Hawks reached. His company HTJ Landscaping donated T-shirts and hats to the team.
He said he appreciates Farrell’s philosophy and team motto of Discipline, Intellect and Grit. “Tommy is a great coach.”
Farrell added, “we are really owning that white look, it is clean, crisp and the under armor does a great job. I want to thank everyone who fund raised and donated. We surprised the kids with the new uniforms the night before our first game and they went absolutely nuts and it was cool to see.”
The coach was born and raised in Toms River and attended Monsignor Donavan High School (now Donovan Catholic) where he met his wife. “I’m the son of two educators so it has been in my blood to be an educator and a coach. I played football at Stone Hill College in Massachusetts and got my masters at Syracuse University in broadcast journalism.”
Farrell worked in the news media industry including NFL films, NJ 101.5 radio and Fox 5 New York “but I realized I really wanted to be in the classroom. My wife is an ICU nurse so in 2020 after COVID hit I told her I wanted to change careers.”
“I got my teaching certificate and took my first teaching job at Parsippany High School and was a defense coordinator up there and teaching video production and then took a lateral move and went to Shore Regional in Long Branch which was a shorter commute,” he said.
The coach added, “then I interviewed for the Manchester job which is perfect because I live in Manchester with my wife in Pine Lake Park. This is a dream come true to not only be the head coach but to be the leader of young men and to give back to the community in this way and to be head football coach in the town you live in is pretty cool. I am excited to go to work every day.”
Farrell teaches a new freshmen course that helps students get acclimated to high school, journalism, video production, web design and English. He works out with the team in the weight room and runs with them on the field. He is proud of the team’s grade point average and their involvement with community service in their visit to area senior communities to assist them with technology issues.