NEW FRANKLIN  The Manchester Alumni Association will host its 16th annual tailgate party and reception to honor the incoming class for the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame prior to the Panthers’ football season opener on Aug. 25.

The event typically draws hundreds of alumni, family and friends to the parking lot adjacent too the stadium in the hours before kickoff each year at the first home game of the season, with tents set up for the festivities.

This year’s reception will take place at 5:30 p.m., with free sandwiches, snacks, desserts and soft drinks  available,as well as a special cake to help celebrate this year’s Hall of Fame inductees

Members of this year’s induction class are:

Mike Bennett (Class of 1989): A three-year letterman in football and basketball, Bennett was the All-Ohio Conference MVP and Player of the Year in 1988, when he played quarterback and passed for more than 1,000 yards. Bennett was also named to the Summit County All-Star team that season.

Nick Hooper (Class of 2007): Hooper was a standout in both wrestling and football and captured the 2007 state championship in his weight class. In football, he earned first team All-PAC-7 recognition while playing fullback and defensive tackle. During his career, Manchester won the PAC-7 championship three times.  

Craig Dougherty (Class of 2010): Dougherty was a multi-sport star in football, wrestling and track and earned PAC-7 Player of the Year honors at fullback, rushing for 1,231 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior. His season earned him a third team All-Ohio selection and recognition as The Suburbanite’s Player of the Year.

Barb Betz: Betz is an honorary selection based on her her decades of selfless service to district. 

The inductees will also be honored on the field during the game against Chippewa, which kicks off at 7 p.m. The Hall of Fame enshrinement will happen at halftime.