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Ford, Pioneers eager to right the ship in 2019

Pioneers receiver/outside linebacker enters his junior season. (Item File Photo)

LYNNFIELD — Jack Ford and the Lynnfield football team don’t have to be reminded of how the 2018 season went. The Pioneers dropped their first four games, finished the year at 3-8 and fell short of their expectations. 

But with a new season on the horizon, Lynnfield’s ready to right the ship. 

“We expect to have a better season than we did last year,” Ford, a junior receiver/outside linebacker, said. “Last season was a tough season. It was a new team. We only had a few returning starters. We lost a lot of coaches too. There were too many changes to the program to try to figure things out. We started to figure things out at the end of the season. We’re all pretty excited to get back in the system.”

From an individual standpoint, Ford put together a solid season in 2018. He reeled in 38 passes for 466 yards and caught four touchdowns. Defensively, Ford tallied 24 tackles, deflected one pass, recovered one fumble, forced one fumble and blocked a field goal. 

He learned to embrace a “wherever the team needs me to play” role. 

“Wherever the coaches want to put me, that’s where I need to be,” Ford said. “I’m willing to play any position to help us win. My coaches won’t put me in a place where I can’t succeed and where I can’t help the team succeed. 

“I’m hoping to build on last year but it’s more about the team. We had a bad year last year. We’re hoping to go much further. My goal is to play college football but at the same time it’s not all about myself. I want to win.”

Ford’s best performance of the 2018 season carried the Pioneers to a 29-22 win over Wakefield. He caught five passes for 115 yards and hauled in three touchdowns, tied with Nick Kinnon for the most single-game touchdown receptions in program history. 

“Jack brings a level of athleticism where he can make a big play at any time,” Pioneers second-year coach Pat Lamusta said. “He’s one of the best basketball players in the school too. He can leap, he can jump, he can catch. He can do things with the ball after the catch too. He’s a tough player, so he’s also great on defense. He’s a great player and we’re lucky to have him.” 

Lamusta credited Ford for bringing leadership to the program and setting an example for his teammates. 

“Even as a junior he’s showing that he has leadership potential,” Lamusta said. “He practices hard. The younger kids look up to that. It’s huge for us, being a smaller school we need leaders wherever we can get them. 

“Jack’s doing well academically too. Anytime you can get a kid that does well on the field and in the classroom, that’s awesome. He’s a leader on the field and inside the school.” 

With the first week of the preseason in the books, the Pioneers are focusing on learning their playbook inside out. 

So far, so good. 

“Things have been pretty good,” Ford said. “We’ve been grinding since we started practicing. We put in a lot of new things that fit in with our team. We’re a smaller, athletic team as opposed to a bigger team. We have to get adjusted to that. We’re starting to get acclimated to all the playcalls and things like that. 

“We have a lot of returners from last year. We all know what we did last year and what went wrong. We’re all working together to try and fix those problems.” 

Also returning to the fold is senior quarterback Clayton Marengi. Ford and Marengi project to lead Lynnfield’s offense this fall. 

“We’ve known each other forever,” Ford said. “I hadn’t played with him as wide receiver-quarterback until last year. We both see the same things on the field. We have similar personalities so we both have pretty good chemistry on the field.” 

Lynnfield opens the season Sept. 13 (7) when the Pioneers host Newburyport. 

“We’re hoping to have a good season,” Ford said. “We expect to make a huge run this year.” 

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