James Runner is beginning his tenth season as head coach of the Lynn Tech football team and the outlook is optimistic, meaning that the Tigers will likely be contending for conference and MIAA playoff titles.
Such has been the excellent tradition established during the James Runner Era. Last year the Tigers qualified for the playoffs and before falling to eventual Division 8 Super Bowl finalist Pope John, 24-6, in the second round. The Tigers finished with an 8-5 record.
The athletes at Tech have responded to Runner’s exceptional leadership and his work in helping them move on to college and in to employment positions in the trades. Tech has 72 players participating in preseason practices at McManus Field.
“This is one of the largest turnouts since I’ve been here,” said Runner. “I’m really excited. I think the addition of the eighth-grade academy is really going to be big for Lynn Tech football.”
The Tigers lost their All-Conference quarterback, David Barrios, to graduation. Barrios is now playing football at Tufts University.
“David has been here all summer long working out with us,” said Barrios. “And Keone Gaskin is in his second year at Franklin Pierce as a starting halfback.”
Seniors Luis Pineiro and Sebastian LeOrtiz are contending for the starting QB position. Regner Nival is also on the depth charts at quarterback. “It’s a good competition for the position,” said Runner.
The Tigers’ top-rated running back is Haidar Bdaiwi, who returns from last year’s backfield and will take on a leadership role in the Tech offense. Guy Morgan and quarterbacking candidate Nival will also be in the backfield.
The returning offensive linemen are Devin Lewis, Kenny Perez, Arthur Herrera, and Adam Cutone. Cutone, a 6-foot-2-inch, 301-pound offensive tackle, is the son of Adam Cutone, who was a star linebacker at Lynn English in his high school days.
Defensive Coordinator Jason McCuish has seven returning starters ready to power the Tigers’ defense. Winnisoda Mar is a starting defensive tackle and looms as a force for the Tigers. Cornerback Edwin Gonzalez and safety Victor Bellamah will lead the defensive backfield.
“Victor played alongside David Barrios at safety last year and he’s basically a coach on the field,” said Runner.
The Tigers were set to scrimmage Boston English Tuesday at Manning Field.
“The last four years we’ve been an MIAA playoff team and we want to continue that reign and try to make it back again,” said Runner.
Tech hosts Greater Lowell in the season opener on Sept. 6 at Manning Field.