National Glory: Lynn Rams U-12 football team finishes sixth in AYF Nationals

 One must admire the competitiveness, determination, and candor of Lynn Rams U-12 football head coach James Hunt.

After leading his team to one of the greatest seasons in Lynn youth football history – an undefeated season in New England and a sixth-place finish in the AYF National Championships in Florida – Coach Hunt said, “We’re not satisfied with just getting to Florida. We want to compete for a national championship again next season [in the U-13 division].”

Coach Hunt and assistant coaches Paul Beath, Justin Day, Vinnie Marino, and Calvin Johnson are already looking for a return to the AYF Nationals at Paradise Sports Complex, the beautiful new AYF facility located in Naples (Florida).

“Let me say that I’m very proud of all the players. It was a great season,” said Hunt. “But our goal for next season is to win the whole entire thing. That’s what we work all season for. Our goal is to win a national championship.”

The Lynn Rams’ 2023 campaign was one for the record books. The Rams were a perfect 13-0 in New England, winning all eight of their regular season games, and their five playoff games, taking home the Eastern Mass., state, and New England regional titles. Didus Hoeun scored the winning touchdown in Lynn’s dramatic 28-22 over Springfield in the regional finals.

At the national finals, the Rams fell short in two hard-fought games against Savannah (Georgia) and San Diego (California).

Lynn was the highest-scoring team in New England this season, averaging 34 points per game. Quarterback Mikey Walsh threw for more than 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns to pilot Lynn’s explosive offense. Running back and wide receiver Maki Kirk also had an incredible season, scoring 23 touchdowns and accounting for more than 2,000 yards in total offense. Jairo Fernandez had 800 yards as a pass receiver.

Defensive tackle Traevon Bruton and Vinny Nalen (who is the son of Bishop Guertin head football coach and former Springfield College and Pope John High School star quarterback Anthony Nalen) were defensive standouts all season.

Hunt, who played four years of football at Deerfield Academy, is setting an excellent example for the players with his hard work, dedication, and inspirational style.

Meanwhile, Lynn Rams President Amy Robinson is building a winning tradition in the football and cheerleading programs. Two of the cheering teams also made it to Nationals this season.

Two years after a merger with the Lynn Chargers, Robinson, a legendary figure in Lynn youth sports, has her organization on the right track – with a national championship a realistic goal for the 2024 season.

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