Move over Classical-English, there’s a new all-Lynn Thanksgiving football rivalry coming to town this year. After playing a regular season game against each other last year, the Tech and KIPP football teams will go head-to-head on Thanksgiving Eve for the first time Wednesday.
“It’s nice to get another all-Lynn game for Thanksgiving,” said Tech coach James Runner. “The kids are always talking about it to each other, and our schools are just a stone’s throw away from each other, so it’s only right. Plus, it’s great for the fans who now don’t have to travel to a different city for the Thanksgiving game.
“Don’t get me wrong, playing Austin Prep for the past couple of years has been great and we really enjoyed it,” Runner continued. “But there’s nothing like a city rivalry.”
Tech is coming into this year’s game as the likely favorite despite not being quite as powerful as last year’s MVADA Small championship team. Standing at 6-4, the Tigers have changed things up this season offensively. With the talented running back duo of Steffan Gravely and Keoni Gaskin gone, Tech has moved to more of a running back-by-committee approach in addition to adding more of a passing attack to its arsenal. Quarterback David Barrios runs the show, while a combination of Haidar Bdaiwi, Chance Buono and Giuliani Daniells lead the way on the ground.
“It’s nice to be able to spread the ball around to all of our different playmakers,” said Runner. “We have a lot of guys who have been able to contribute this season, and it keeps the other team off balance when we keep changing guys out.”
As for the defense, everything revolves around star linebacker Emerson Ramirez. With over 100 tackles this year, the senior has improved on an already-impressive junior season. Add in the dominant play of defensive lineman Ali Bdaiwi and Barrios’ prowess at safety, and the Tigers have a lot to offer defensively as well.
“Those guys have all really stepped up this year, and I think they’re all going to want to go out with a bang and play well in their final game,” Runner said.
As for next Wednesday’s game, Runner and the Tigers don’t plan on doing anything out of the ordinary.
“We’re just going to approach it like any other game,” said Runner. “We’re going to try to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and try to negate their speed. We can spread it out or bring it in and pound the ball, so we’ll let the game dictate what approach we’re going to use.”
The Tigers and KIPP face off Wednesday night at Manning Field (6).