Tech football preps for vocational playoffs

When the Lynn Tech football team was eliminated from the MIAA Division 8 tournament last week in the North sectional final, some may have thought the Tigers’ chance at a state title was all over. But, as a vocational school, Tech still has a chance to capture the Massachusetts Vocational Athletic Directors Association (MVADA) state championship with just two more wins, which is exactly what the Tigers plan to do.

“We want to go out with double-digit wins this year, which is something that we’ve never done as a coaching staff and something these seniors have never done,” said Tech coach James Runner. “At the end of the day, every team, every coach and every player want to play for a state title, and we’re very fortunate as a vocational school that we get a second chance at it.”

But it’s not as simple as all that. Yes, the Tigers (9-1) are in the driver’s seat in their quest for the MVADA title. However, with two higher-ranked vocational schools still in the MIAA tournament (No. 1 Blackstone Valley Tech and No. 2 Nashoba Tech), there are several scenarios that could play out over the coming weeks.

If No.3 Tech can win its game this Saturday against No. 4 Franklin County Tech (noon at Manning Field) and both Blackstone Valley and Nashoba win their MIAA tournament games, then the Tigers will become de facto MVADA champions without having to play another game. But if one of those higher seeds loses, Tech will have to play that team in a winner-take-all game on November 30. And if both higher seeds lose in the tournament, Tech would be left out in the cold as the third-place team while the higher seeds play for the MVADA title.

“There’s still a lot that can happen, so we just have to focus on what’s in front of us,” Runner said. “No matter what, we have at least two more games with our Thanksgiving game, so the goal remains to win double-digit games. The only difference will be whether we end up trying to go 11-1 or 12-1.”

As for what’s in front of the Tigers, it’s Franklin County Tech, a 5-5 team from the western part of the state that no one from Tech has ever seen in person.

“Other than the film we’ve watched, I’ve never seen them play in person,” said Runner. “But we’ve done a lot of research and we know what we’re in for. They’re a big, physical team that likes to run the ball just like us, so we know it’ll be a battle. They do have to drive over an hour to come play on our home field, so that might help us a bit. Either way, we’ve got to be ready to execute like we have all year.”

The two teams will square off at noon on Saturday, which means they’ll be in game action while both Blackstone Valley Tech and Nashoba Tech play their respective MIAA tournament games (both at 11 a.m.). Since the outcome of those games will determine the fate of Tech’s title hopes, Runner says you can bet he’ll have people monitoring those games in real time.

“You can only imagine where our heads will be at,” he said. “We’ll be going crazy on Saturday for sure.”

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