Sports

Third annual Lynn flag football tournament kicks off Saturday

Keith Chandler (left) dodges a defender during last year's Lynn Flag Football Tournament. (Item File Photo)

LYNN — With the Pop Warner and high school football seasons around the corner, it’s always a good thing to be able to grab a final tune-up before hitting the field in the fall. Saturday’s third annual Lynn Flag Football Tournament at Manning Field will give local players the opportunity to compete with and against each other before starting their respective fall seasons.

“They get real excited,” Fred Hogan, a member of the Stop the Violence committee who helps organize the event, said. “They’re all hustling around to make sure they get on a team. This is going to be really good. The great thing about this is Pop Warner is around the corner. The high school season starts the 16th. It’s a great event for the kids who play to get ready for football season.”

This year’s tournament carries a few tweaks. The high school division includes 10 teams and all five Lynn high schools will field a squad. There are four grammar school teams and four middle school teams. The high school teams carry 15 players per roster and games will follow a 7v7 format. The grammar and middle school divisions will play on flag football rules and each of those teams will field 10 players.

The tournament will conclude with a New England Youth Tackle Football all-star game. Hogan said a total of 240 players are expected to participate.

“We have a lot of high schools playing great football in Lynn,” Hogan, who’ll serve as an assistant football coach at Classical this fall, said. “It was a great season last year. We concentrated on making some changes in that division and that has gone well.”

Those interested in registering to play can do so Saturday morning at 8 a.m. There are still slots available in the grammar and middle school divisions. The first games are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

“It’s rewarding seeing kids do positive things,” Hogan said. “We have the Stop the Violence Lynn t-shirts all over the city. We’re sending a message out there. You can’t say enough with the things happening in the city. If we can help a few kids that excellent. It’s a good thing for the city of Lynn.”

The event is organized by Stop the Violence Lynn and Lynn Parks and Recreation. The most important detail to keep in mind, Hogan said, is the event is free for all players.

“We go from the basketball league to the flag football tournament and these are all free events,” Hogan said. “Kids don’t need money to play. They come out and have fun. It’s a little competitive. It’s great that we have these kids coming out to play.”

Hogan also mentioned the tournament wouldn’t be possible without help from sponsors. The list of sponsors includes Ram Electric, Steven Family, R&R American, Bruno’s Burger and Bar, Brendan Creighton, Dan Cahill, Top of the Line, Julianna’s Hair Salon, Teamsters Local 42, Auto Works Collision Center, Marion St. Auto Body, Lynn Police Department, Jared Nicholson, John Ford, Lorraine Gately and Essex Media Group.

Water will be provided to all participants free of cost and the tournament’s footballs, which feature the “Stop the Violence” logo on them, were donated by Ram Electric.

“The funny thing is we don’t even ask some people, they’ll call us up and ask to sponsor the tournament,” Hogan said. “We’ll tag a sponsor with a team and all the sponsors will each have a team.

“Without the sponsors this wouldn’t be possible,” Hogan added.

The tournament’s still seeking volunteers, specifically those interested in refereeing. Hogan said anybody interested in volunteering Saturday can reach out to him at 781-244-7921.

“We’re always looking for volunteers,” Hogan said. “We’re definitely looking for volunteer referees. If people want to come down and help out, we really appreciate that.”

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