The MIAA football pairings were released Sunday, and with three undefeated teams and another at 6-1, the Lynn teams are sitting pretty at the tops of their respective divisions.
English (7-0) sits atop Division 3 after a decisive win over Winthrop Saturday to wrap up the perfect regular season. It will host No. 8 Winchester Saturday at Manning at 2. The Sachems snuck into the playoffs at 2-5, and haven’t won a game on the road this season. Winchester, which plays in the always-tough Middlesex League, has yet to beat a team with a winning record as well.
Winchester is coached by Wally Dembowski, who spent a year as an assistant coach at Swampscott under his cousin Steve Dembowski a few seasons ago. The Sachems are led by quarterback Tony Fiorentino, who relies heavily on running back Peter Gallagher to generate scoring.
At the other end of the D3 bracket is No. 3 Classical (6-1), which will take on a fellow Northeastern Conference team in No. 6 Danvers (5-2). The Rams already topped the Falcons in Week 5, 28-14. Danvers is coming off a tough 10-7 loss in Marblehead last Friday.
Classical will get the second game of Friday night’s Manning doubleheader at 7:30. If both English and Classical win their first two games of the tournament, they’ll meet in the Division 3 final.
St. Mary’s cruised to a big win over Austin Prep Saturday to finish the regular season 7-0 and earn the top seed in Division 7. The Spartans will host No. 8 Manchester Essex, of the Cape Ann League, Friday at 5 in the first game of the Manning doubleheader. The Hornets have Cosmo Pallazola running the offense from under center and Robbie Sarmanian leading the way on the ground. The Spartans have sprinted out to huge first-half leads over all but one opponent this season.
Also undefeated, Tech earned the top seed in Division 8, and will host a 2-5 team in No. 8 Marian/Keefe Tech. Marian-Keefe is battle-tested, with regular season games against teams like St. Mary’s, Lowell Catholic and Georgetown, but it hasn’t had much success against stronger squads. Tech will have the night portion of Saturday’s Manning doubleheader at 7.
In Division 5, Lynnfield may have seen its undefeated season slip away Friday against Hamilton-Wenham, but that loss didn’t affect the team’s standing in the division as it earned the top seed at 6-1. The Pioneers will host Bedford (7) Friday night. The Buccaneers, of the Dual County League, snuck into the postseason at 2-5, and both of those wins came from outside the conference (Boston Latin and Atlantis Charter).
Swampscott (6-1) earned the third seed in Div. 5 and will host No. 6 Watertown (3-4) Saturday at Blocksidge (1:30). Watertown limps into the playoffs after losing its final three games of the regular season. Somerville (5-2) earned the second seed and will host No. 7 Triton Friday night.
In addition to the three Lynn teams, Marblehead also wrapped up a perfect regular season with a win this past weekend, the defensive battle against Danvers. The No. 2 Magicians will host No. 7 Wakefield (3-4) Friday night. The Warriors have had an up-and-down season, and none of their three wins came against a team above .500.
Gloucester earned the sixth seed in Div. 4, and will take on 6-1 Wilmington on the road.
In Division 1, No. 6 St. John’s Prep (3-4) will take on perennial powerhouse No. 3 Everett (6-0) Friday night on the road. There’s a ton of familiarity between the two squads. The Crimson Tide spoiled the opening of the Eagles’ brand new Glatz Field with a 42-28 win on the Prep’s home turf in Week 3. Everett, the reigning Division 1 Super Bowl champions, is led by junior quarterback Jake Wilcox, who has plenty of weapons in his offense, like junior Mike Saintrisil, who has already received an offer from Division I Virginia Tech. The Crimson Tide has several players who have either committed to play at or have received offers from DI schools.
In Division 6, Salem made the cut with a 4-3 record, but will have to visit Cape Ann League champs Hamilton-Wenham Saturday.