Striking Gold on the Gridiron: Youth Football Phenom Jadiel Ortega Begins His High School Career at Lynn Tech

Jadiel Ortega accomplished a lot on the football field this summer. And that’s an understatement.

After playing in the New England Flag Football League and excelling at a tournament in New York, Ortega was recommended for a tryout on the USA Junior National 15-under flag football team.

Jadiel Ortega shown holding one of the many awards he has received for his excellence in football, is pictured with his family, from left, his parents, Julie Rodriguez and Salvador Ortega, and his sisters, Mariellla Ortega and Vanessa Ortega.

Ortega impressed the coaches at the tryout and at the age of 13, he became the youngest player on the team.

But the story gets better. As a rusher and a receiver, Ortega helped lead Team USA to victories over Canada, Japan, and Mexico,  bringing the world championship trophy in the international tournament back to Massachusetts. Ortega earned individual honors and received a gold medal, fittingly on the weekend before the Fourth of July.

An incoming eighth grader at Lynn Tech, Ortega has begun preseason practices for the Tigers and has emerged as a candidate for the varsity quarterback position in Coach James Runner’s program.

“I’m excited about beginning high school football,” said Ortega, who is 5-feet-7 and weighs 176 pounds. “I know I’ll be playing against older kids, but I feel that I’m ready.”

Ortega is a product of the West Lynn Rams Pop Warner organization. As a seventh grader, Ortega scored 32 touchdowns as the Rams won the state title before falling in the New England Regional.

Ortega said he wouldn’t have been able to experience so many opportunities without the support of his parents.

“I love my parents. My mom and my dad have made so many sacrifices so I could play football and travel to tournaments,” said Jadiel.

Jadiel’s mother, Julie Rodriguez, is still trying to grasp the fact that her son is one of the best flag football players in the country.

“I’m very proud of my son,” said Rodriguez. “I remember signing him up for West Lynn Pop Warner when he was five. He’s worked hard and had a lot of training. I’m looking forward

to watching him play at Tech. I know Coach [James] Runner is a great coach and I entrust him with my son’s development.”

Julie Rodriguez will also be able to watch her daughter, Mariella Ortega, compete for the Lynn Tech cheerleading team. Mariella, who is an excellent athlete, will be one of the Tigers’ head cheerleaders. As a Pop Warner cheerleader, Mariella and her teammates qualified for Nationals three years in a row. Her younger sister, Vanessa Ortega, 7, is a flyer on the Lynn Rams 10-under cheer team.

And on Sept. 9 at Manning Field, Jadiel Ortega will carry the family banner forward after a record-setting youth career in flag football and tackle football.

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