LYNN– Tech football coach James Runner always sets high expectations for his Tigers. Last year’s team didn’t quite match those expectations but there were plenty of positives to take away from the 2018 season.
“We finished 8-5 and we lost to Pope John in the second round in Division 8 North,” Runner, entering his 10th season at Tech, said. “The biggest positive was to get the younger guys on the field. It was important to have them learn what it’s like. We had some great first-year players who come into their second season this year in much better shape and they know what to do. Making the playoffs was a big thing and winning our Thanksgiving game (over KIPP), those were our positives last year.”
Everything went according to plan leading up to the preseason.
“We had good offseason workouts,” Runner said. “We started in March. We had 22 weeks of lifting and running. We played over 30 7v7 games. It’s a testament to our senior leaders. They made sure our guys were in the weightroom and at practices. That’s huge.”
This season’s captains are seniors Victor Bellamah (receiver/safety), Haidar Bdaiwi (running back/outside linebacker), Devin Lewis (lineman/linebacker), Arthur Herrera (lineman) and Kenny Perez (lineman). Herrera will miss the 2019 season with a torn ACL.
“They’re good kids,” Runner said. “Victor and Haidar will play big roles on offense in keeping the clock rolling for us. Kenny and Devin will play big roles on the offensive line and in defense too. I think these guys are geared up and I think they’re ready for the challenge.”
Junior lineman Adam Cutone returns after a big sophomore campaign. Edwin Gonzalez returns for his senior season at receiver/cornerback.
Under center, Tech will lean on senior Luis Pineiro. He replaces former quarterback David Barrios, an Item All-Star who graduated from the program.
“Luis did really well in 7v7 competition,” Runner said. “That made it very easy for us to make that decision. He’s going to be a huge part of our offense.”
Offensively, Tech aims to move the chains and wear out opposing defenses.
“I think we’re in a good position as far as moving the ball forward,” Runner said. “We’re looking to fill in the gaps as far as missing David Barrios. A lot of these kids have been around for four year. We’re hoping that translates to the field, keeping the ball on our side and making teams frustrated because they can’t stop our run game. We’re trying to keep our run game moving.”
Defensively, it’s about keeping teams out of the end zone.
“We’re going to be stout,” Runner said. “I think we’re going to hold our ground. Jason McCuish, my defensive coordinator, always says, ‘We bend but we don’t break.’ We emphasize keeping our opponents out of the end zone. No matter how many yards they gain, if they can’t score they can’t win. That’s something we emphasize in practice.”
The Tigers opened the season with a 17-0 loss to Greater Lowell last Friday. They travel to Nashoba Valley Tech Friday night (7) in hopes of grabbing their first win.
9/6- vs. Greater Lowell (L 17-0)
9/13 – at Nashoba Valley (7)
9/21 – vs. Minuteman (1)
9/27 – vs. Mystic Valley (7)
10/11 – at Chelsea (7)
10/18 – vs. Georgetown (7)
10/26 – at Northeast (10:30)
11/27 – vs. KIPP (5)