LYNN — It was four months ago that the Lynn Tech football team closed its 2017 season with a Massachusetts Vocational Athletic Directors Association Small Championship.
Between now and then, the Tigers held their annual team banquet and saw two of their players, Steffan Gravely and Keoni Gaskin, sign National Letters of Intent to UMass Dartmouth and Franklin Pierce, respectively. Tech landed three of its stars on the Item All-Star team in running backs Gravely and Gaskin, and linebacker Emerson Ramirez.
But there had always been one missing piece to the puzzle.
The missing item was addressed Wednesday afternoon at Tech, when the Tigers received their MVADA championship rings in a team ceremony held after school.
“The best part about giving out these rings is that this will impact them for the rest of their lives,” Tigers coach James Runner said. “Hopefully they’ll pass these down to their kids someday. I know that some of these kids will never play football again. For them to finish their senior year with a championship and to have the ring be a symbol of that, it’s life changing.”
All players on the varsity team received a ring Wednesday afternoon. Runner and his coaching assistants handed a ring to each player and they opened them together, “as a family, as we all agreed,” Runner said.
“My coaching staff can attest to this,” Runner said. “We try to give these kids everything they deserve. I was very honest when I told them to think about the early morning practices, the extra running. All of that was for a reason. It wasn’t just to do it. Hopefully that message gets passed down the younger athletes in Lynn.”
Tech ran the table in the regular season this past fall, rolling through the Commonwealth Athletic Conference to finish at 7-0 and earn the top seed in the Division 8 North state tournament. The Tigers ran their way to the sectional final where the postseason push came to a close with a 20-6 loss to Cathedral- Tech’s only loss of the season. The Tigers finished with a 12-1 record.
“For Lynn Tech, with this championship and being 12-1, I think this will solidify us for years to come because we were one of the better teams in the city of Lynn,” Runner said. “It’s important to solidify that for the legacy of the school, the kids and the coaches.”
Runner hopes the underclassmen on the roster took special note of the amount of hard work and dedication it took to bring a banner to Tech this past season. A handful of the team’s players are participating in spring sports while the others are in the middle of their offseason workouts.
“I think we have great leadership with David Barrios and Emerson Ramirez,” Runner said. “Those are two guys that were big players for us last year and they’re captains for us this year. They’re going to lead, along with Brandon Tuohy and Kenny Perez. I think those kids give us the great nucleus we need for leadership. We graduated great talent but I think we’re incorporating a great group that wants to win together.”
Tech opens the 2018 season with a home game against Nashoba Valley, the same team the Tigers defeated in the MVADA Small Championship game. Runner likes Tech’s chances of competing in the CAC again next season.
“Hopefully we can be in a good position,” Runner said. “We have four home games in our first seven games of the season so that’s big for us. I’m looking forward to the challenge. Our CAC Small league is tough. Some of the schools in the Large league have asked us to play them. I think we’re in a position where we can be successful in our conference with the athletes that we have.”