Tech’s balance too much for Minuteman

Tech quarterback David Barrios is one of seven Tigers on the CAC Small football all-star team. (Item File Photo)

LYNN — While parts of the city were under water Saturday after a flash flood, at Manning Field there was a deluge of offense as the Tech football team sank Minuteman, 48-12, to improve to 4-0.

The Tigers scored early and often as they became the fourth team in Lynn to reach 4-0 after English topped Saugus earlier in the afternoon.

As a head coach, I’m very proud of the coaches and the program. It’s not easy to be 4-0, it’s pretty cool,” Tech coach James Runner said. “The camaraderie of the football team is big, the guys have passion and want to play all four quarters. At the end of the day, it’s a great feeling. It definitely makes eating your dinner and breakfasts easier.

“It took a long time to get to where we are now, and it wasn’t easy. We’re excited, and we’re going to keep preparing like every game is a playoff game.”

Two weeks after sneaking by KIPP, the Mustangs returned to Manning, but this time ran into a diverse offensive attack from Tech. While the Tigers relied on running backs Steffan Gravely (6 rushes, 131 yards, 1 TD) and Keoni Gaskin (7 carries, 153 yards, 3 TDs) to lead the way per usual, quarterback David Barrios got the job done in the air as well.

But it was Barrios’ defensive play that sparked the Tigers’ first scoring drive. Barrios picked off Minuteman quarterback Danny Johanson on the Mustangs’ second play from scrimmage, scooping up a pass that tipped off a receiver’s fingertips and taking it from about the Minuteman 25 to the 7. Tech wasted no time getting on the board, as Gaskin took it in 12 yards (after a penalty pushed the Tigers back five yards), finding a hole thanks to a big block from Gravely. Jamie James’ kick was good, and Tech led 7-0 after two minutes.

Tech again took advantage of a Minuteman turnover on the next drive as Brandon Tuoy scooped up the loose ball, and Gravely went 41 yards on the first play of the drive to make 14-0 after the kick.

Barrios connected with Elvin Gonzalez on the Tigers’ next drive on a 55-yard scoring pass to make it 21-0 with 5:45 left in the first. Barrios didn’t air it out often, but when he did, he connected.

“David is one of the smartest kids on our football team and in our entire school,” Runner said. “He’s a great athlete, three-sport athlete, and he’s started for us on varsity since his freshman year at safety. The experience is there, but quarterback is something that’s been new for us this year.”

Minuteman ate up the rest of the quarter and a chunk of the next with a long and fruitful drive that ended on a trick play for a touchdown to make it 21-6. Tech was far from done, though, as big gains from Gravely and Gaskin got the Tigers to first and goal at the one. A stuffed drive, penalty and bad snap pushed Tech back to the 12, but Barrios linked up with Tuoy on third down to make it 28-6. Gaskin capped the scoring in the half with a big 80-yard touchdown run after Barrios picked off Johanson again and brought it to Minuteman’s 20.

Tech marched down the field on the opening drive of the second half and made it 41-6 on Gaskin’s seven-yard run. Gaskin punched in his third score in the fourth quarter on a 22-yard run, and Minuteman wrapped up the contest on a scoring drive.

After four decisive wins in the first month of the season, Runner and company are feeling like they’re where they need to be.

“We’re a confident group, but also a humble group,” Runner said. “No matter how many wins we have, there will always be a bigger target on our back. We’ll break the film down and get ready for our next opponent. Sometimes when you get too confident, you forget how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are.”

That next opponent is the brand-new KIPP squad, which is 1-3 after a loss to Mystic Valley Friday.

“It’s a city rivalry now, like an early Thanksgiving Day game,” Runner said, “but we’re excited and not taking anything lightly.”


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