LYNN — Last week, the East Lynn Bulldogs Pop Warner D team took down the Boston Raiders, 7-6, to win its third consecutive state championship. The win capped off an epic run of rivalry games between the two teams, including two state championship meetings and a state semifinal meeting.
“We’ve gone up against them every year at some point over the past three years,” said East Lynn coach Pete Dow. “We beat them three years ago for our first state title and again this year. They were actually our only loss of the regular season this year and they killed us 32-0. So to come back a few weeks later and beat them for the state title was a big deal for us.”
With its third straight state title, Dow recognizes that his team is in rarified air, even in the long history of sporting accomplishments in the city of Lynn.
“We had never won a state title before three years ago, and now we have three straight,” said Dow. “These kids really have done something amazing. To win three state titles in a row, I don’t think that this will ever be done again.”
The Bulldogs have had a host of key contributors this year, but leading the way is a group of four players who have been on the team for all three state titles. Ethan Prum, Mateo Soto, Angel Figueroa and Misial Pena have gotten plenty of big game experience over the past few years.
“It’s actually kind of crazy that we have four kids who have played on all of the championship teams, considering the fact that kids age out of Pop Warner pretty fast,” said Dow. “But those guys have been here the whole time and they’ve played well each year. Now they bring a ton of experience to our side, which is great.”
Also making a big impact for East Lynn this season are Marvin Avery, Cameron Thornton, Limbert Thomas and Gregory Raye.
“There are honestly so many guys I could name that have been contributors for us this season,” said Dow. “It truly has been a team effort from the beginning of the year.”
The win sends the Bulldogs on to the New England Regional Final, which will take place at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Saturday. East Lynn will take on the Mount Hope (Rhode Island) Cowboys, the same team that beat them in last year’s New England Regional Final. Dow knows that his team is going up against a tough opponent, but he also has confidence in his squad.
“To be honest, I’ve never felt this way about a team of mine,” Dow said. “I really think we have a great chance not only to compete, but we have a great chance to win this game. But make no mistake, we’re going up against a very good team and we’re going to have to stifle them. They’re big and physical, and they haven’t even given up a first down this season, let alone any points. So we have our work cut out for us, but we have a gameplan that we’ll put in place and we have some experience from playing them last year, so I’ve got a lot of confidence.”