By Cary Shuman
Rich Avery and the City of Lynn will be in the spotlight Saturday when the Everett and Xaverian football teams play the Division 1 Super Bowl at Manning Field.
Avery succeeded John Kasian as the facilities manager of Manning Field and Fraser Field. There has been a succession of high-profile events at Manning Field, including the state championship soccer games.
Now comes the Super Bowl and a crowd that should pack the bleachers on both sides of the field.
“I definitely jumped right in to the fire, so to speak,” said Avery. “We’ve had some big events already this year. We had the state finals in soccer, a couple of doubleheaders in football, and playoff football games. I have a great staff so we’re more than ready for Saturday’s game.”
Avery said athletic directors Dick Newton (English), Bill Devin (Classical), and Joseph Skeadas (Tech) and English vice principal Gary Molea will assist his staff at Manning Field. St. Mary’s athletic director Jeff Newhall will be at Gillette Stadium Saturday morning as the Spartans compete against East Bridgewater for the Division 3 state title.
Avery has met with officials from the Lynn Police Department and Department of Public Works to discuss traffic, parking, and security for the Super Bowl. “The Police and DPW were very cooperative. They want to make it easy and accessible for fans. We have a couple of different parking lots available beyond the Manning lot itself.”
The selection of Manning Field for the Division 1 game is considered an honor. Manning Field and Worcester State College are the only non-Gillette Stadium sites for Super Bowls.
“When I heard that we would be hosting the Super Bowl, it was great,” said Avery. “I love to show off Lynn and what it has to offer and there is no better spot than Manning Field and Fraser Field combined – the Agganis Athletic Complex – to show what the city of Lynn is all about.”
One new initiative for the Everett-Xaverian game will be a second concession stand on the visitors’ side of the field.
Manning Field seats approximately 4,000 fans. “We have standing room areas set aside as well.”
Avery is enjoying his new position as head of the facilities.
“It’s a dream job for me dealing with the local youth sports every day,” said Avery. “We also have the North Shore Generals and some men’s soccer leagues. The place was busy every day.”
Xaverian coach Charlie Stevenson said his program played Lynn English in a regular season game at Manning Field. “We really enjoyed the experience. I know Manning Bowl was an historic venue. We’re looking forward to playing in Lynn.”
Everett coach John DiBiaso said his program has also competed at Manning Field. In 2011, Everett played Lynn English in a semifinal playoff game.
“It’s a great venue and we’re looking forward to playing there on Saturday,” said DiBiaso. “There is a lot of history associated with Manning and we’re excited to be a part of that. A lot of our former players have competed in the Agganis Game there as well so it’s a special place for Everett. I think there’ll be a lot of Everett people there to support us.”
Avery has already witnessed one of the greatest football plays in Manning Field history when Lynn Classical’s Marcus Rivera returned a kickoff for a touchdown to give the Rams a thrilling 21-20 victory over Lynn English on Thanksgiving.
“I was on the field when it happened. That play was unbelievable. I thought last year’s Fenwick-St. Mary’s Thanksgiving game was one of the best games I saw until I saw the English-Classical game. That was crazy.”