Tech, St.Mary’s Gear Up for the Start of the Season

The Lynn Tech and St. Mary’s football teams will both be in action Friday night with the Tigers traveling to Chelsea and the Spartans at home against Bellingham.

The offseason featured some big news for both teams. After playing each other the night before Thanksgiving since 1994, the couple split up in December and both have new dates for the holidays. Tech will play Austin Prep and St. Mary’s will play Bishop Fenwick.

Both coaches will have plenty of time to worry about their new Thanksgiving opponents (Tech will play Austin Prep and St. Mary’s will play Bishop Fenwick), but right now their focus is on Week 1 and getting the 2015 season off on the right foot.

Tech at Chelsea (Friday, 7)

Lynn Tech coach James Runner is looking to see some improvement after at 4-6 season. He graduated six players from that team including captains Allan Kangalobic and quarterback Rafy Lora. Both are in college, but neither is playing.

Runner is going with five captains this year including Justin Lewis, who last spring competed in the nationals as a high jumper. The wide receiving and linebacker was the team MVP with four receiving touchdowns and two rushing. He’s looking at colleges where he could play football, Runner said.

“He’s a big part of the team. He’s a natural, an unbelievable athlete,” Runner said. “We work out our athletes so much. They build up strength and power. Justin grasped it. It payed dividends for him.”,

The captain contingent also includes senior middle linebacker/guard Devin Phean; senior tight end/defensive end Jahvon Van; safety Nelson Barrios and junior offensive tackle Brandon Lewis. Steffan Gravely, who rushed for 979 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions, will be the premiere back on offense.

Runner, now in his sixth year as head coach, is excited to get going against Chelsea.

“It should be a good outing. It’s always a great rivalry with Chelsea. The kids are excited to be playing on Friday,” he said.

Thanksgiving will have a different feel for the Tigers this year. The traditional Tech-St. Mary’s game is no more. Both teams have new rivals. Tech will play Austin Prep and the Spartans will play Bishop Fenwick.

Bellingham at St. Mary’s (Friday, 7)

St. Mary’s is coming off a solid year, qualifying  for the playoffs, but losing to Whittier Tech in a heartbreaker in the first game. The Spartans finished 7-4.

Coach Matt Durgin lost some key players from that team including Connor Sakowich, a 1,000-yard rusher who is now playing at Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Brent Lozzi, a tight end and defensive tackle now playing at Framingham State University; Luc Zikianda, a tight end and defensive end now playing at Curry College, and Jack Leonard, an offensive guard/defensive linemen.

On the flip side, Durgin still has junior Abraham Toe, who rushed for 1,200 yards as a sophomore; junior offensive lineman/defensive lineman Liam Reddy, a leader on both lined, and senior quarterback Antonio Felix. Felix is a three-year starter at quarterback and is fresh off winning a state title in baseball with the Spartans.

“I think being on a state championship baseball team helped him with his confidence,” Durgin said.

Returning players to watch are Brendan Donahue, who can play a variety of different positions; Joey Silvestri, who started at fullback as a sophomore, and receivers Calvin Johnson, who was at St. Mary’s as a freshman, transferred out a sophomore and is back as a junior. Marcus Atkins is also a talented junior receiver.

The returning contingent also includes defensive end/tight end Cameron Sakowich;  sophomore James Brumfield, who started at corner as a freshman; Marlon Scott, also a sophomore cornerback and center Kyle Bernardini. Jack Stacy, Fred Blaise and Brendan McCarthy are all fighting for a spot on the offensive line.

“I think we have a chance to be a good football team. We need to stay healthy,” Durgin said. “We like to run the ball, but with those two receivers and Antonio thowing the ball well, we’ll throw enough to keep them honest.”

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