Flag football rules the day at Manning Field

Lynn Tech's Rartha Kou Thach comes down with a difficult catch during the Lynn Flag Football Tournament Saturday. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — The Third Annual Lynn Flag Football Tournament kicked off bright and early at a steamy Manning Field Saturday, and the event couldn’t have been more of a success.

More than 200 local youth football players took part in the the tournament, which was organized in a team effort by Lynn Parks and Recreation and Stop the Violence Lynn.

“The weather held up beautifully, everybody showed up, everything ran on time and it was great,” Fred Hogan, a member of the Stop the Violence committee who helps organize the event, said. “It was just a great event, the whole day. Everyone was so excited. It keeps kids busy. Another full day of keeping the kids busy. It was a pretty awesome thing.

“A lot of people came out to sit in the stands and watch the game,” Hogan added. “It was a hot day too, so that was pretty cool.”

The tournament, free of all costs to players, fielded 16 teams across three divisions. The grammar and elementary school divisions each consisted of four teams, while the high school division carried eight rosters. A couple of tweaks and changes were made to this year’s tournament, including adding a 7v7 format and inviting Lynn’s high school teams to play.

“We pulled the flags and went to the 7v7 format,” Hogan said. “That’s what everyone’s doing. All the high schools are experienced in playing in 7v7 tournaments now. We’re definitely going to keep that from now on. It showed the younger kids how to play in the 7v7 format. It was awesome.”

The English High Bulldogs, sponsored by Lynn Police, captured the high school division championship with a 15-14 win over Class of 2018, sponsored by John Ford. The Bulldogs won the game in the final minutes.

English has one final tune-up before it dives into the start of the preseason as the Bulldogs will compete in Tuesday’s Northeast 7v7 New England Regional Championship at Xaverian Brothers. Classical and Bishop Fenwick will also compete in the regional tournament.

“Lynn’s blessed with two outstanding quarterbacks in Classical’s Keith Ridley and English’s Matt Severance,” Hogan, an assistant football coach at Classical, said. “Those guys put on a show throwing the football.”

Ram Electric defeated Bruno’s Bar and Burger, 20-14, to capture the grammar school division championship. Julianna’s Hair Salon won the middle school division championship with a 28-13 win over Brendan Crighton. The Most Valuable Player Awards were earned by Xavier Abreu of the grammar school division, Ali Barry of the middle school division and Prince Brown of the high school division. Mayor Thomas M. McGee sponsored the MVP awards.

Sponsors for the tournament were Ram Electric, Steven Family, R&R American, Bruno’s Burger and Bar, Brendan Crighton, 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.

“Without the sponsors, none of this is possible,” Hogan said. “We had free water, everything was free. Mayor McGee sponsored all the MVP awards. We didn’t even reach out, he loves what we’re doing. People stepped up and we have a long list. The volunteers did a great job, along with Stop the Violence and Lynn Parks and Recreation. The staff at Manning Field did a great job. Everything was so smooth.

“Next year will be our fourth year,” Hogan added. “I think it’ll draw more excitement.”

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