Published in the June 28, 2017 edition

THE GANG’S ALL HERE. Nearly 50 LHS Football Alumni participated in the first annual 7v7 tourney to benefit the LFPC. (Tom Condardo Photo)

THE GANG’S ALL HERE. Nearly 50 LHS Football Alumni participated in the first annual 7v7 tourney to benefit the LFPC. (Tom Condardo Photo)


LYNNFIELD — The spring sports action has wrapped up and school is out, but the Lynnfield Pioneer football team is hard at work preparing for the 2017 season.

The Pioneers began their quest for an unprecedented sixth straight Cape Ann League title with a strong showing in the Assumption College 7v7 shootout held on June 11.

Lynnfield ran the table in the round robin portion of the tournament, defeating Andover 23-21, Quabbin 29-12, Nashua South 32-12 and Malden Catholic 30-6. That earned them a spot in the semi-finals where they fell to eventual tournament champion Millis 27-19. Head coach Neal Weidman was pleased with the squad’s performance.

“We were able to spread it around a lot and get everyone involved,” he said. “We used three quarterbacks – Matt Mortellite, Brett Cohee and Clay Marengi, and they all did well.”

Weidman also singled out the receiving corps of incoming captain Nick Kinnon, Peter Look, Tyler Murphy and Jason Ndansi for their strong play.

On the same day, the Pioneer linemen had a solid showing at a Linemen’s Challenge event, placing fifth in a field of 10-plus teams. Lynnfield finished second in the bench press, led by incoming captain Nate Drislane who impressed everyone with over 25 reps at 185 lbs. That exceed several other team totals. Incoming captain Harry Collins and Zach Huynh also had strong performances.

Boustris to play in Agganis game

In one final piece of business from the 2016 season, outgoing Pioneer captain Alex Boustris will be the lone Lynnfield representative on the North squad in the 56th Annual Harry Agganis All-Star game on Thursday, June 29 at 7 p.m. at Lynn’s Manning Field.

The football contest is one of seven Agganis All-Star games in various sports conducted to raise money for the Agganis Foundation that provides college scholarships to deserving student-athletes.

Pioneer summer schedule set

The Pioneers will be busy this summer. Conditioning workouts three days per week began on Monday, June 26, which will continue through mid August.

Lynnfield will again play in the Bishop Fenwick 7 v 7 passing league on five consecutive Tuesdays. The series began June 27.

The Pioneers have also signed up for the 40-team Under Armour Northeast 7 v 7 tournament at Bishop Fenwick on Saturday, July 22.

In their final activity before preseason practices begin, Lynnfield, along with teams from Reading, Melrose, Billerica and Triton, will take part in a Spread Offense Team Camp run on Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30 at Pioneer Stadium.

Regular season schedule set

Official preseason practice begins on Friday, August 18 and the Pioneers will play three tough scrimmages to prepare for the regular season. They jump three divisions to face Masconomet on Saturday, August 26 at 9 a.m. in Topsfield. They’ll then host Salem on Tuesday, August 29 at 4:30 p.m., and will visit Melrose on Friday, September 1 at 4 p.m.

The Pioneers will kick off Weidman’s 10th season with four straight home games against Newburyport on Friday, September 8 at 7 p.m.; Wayland on Friday, September 15 at 7 p.m.; Amesbury on Friday, September 22 at 7 p.m. to open up their CAL title defense against the Indians, and Winthrop on Friday, September 29 at 7 p.m.

Wayland returns to the Pioneer schedule after an absence of 12 years following the last meeting between the two teams in 2004. However, the Warriors and Pioneers are no strangers on the gridiron, having met 37 times from 1958 to 2004. Lynnfield holds an 18-17-2 edge in the series.

In contrast, the Pioneers will be playing Winthrop for only the second time ever, first time in the regular season. Lynnfield upset the top-seeded Vikings 35-14 in the 2014 Division 4 North Finals.

Friday Night Lights a reality

Following their four-game home stand, the Pioneers hit the road for games at Manchester-Essex on Friday, October 6 at 7 p.m. and Ipswich on Friday, October 13 at 7 p.m. They return home to wrap up their CAL Baker Division schedule against Hamilton-Wenham on Friday, October 13. For the first time in the history of the program, all seven regular season games will be played under the lights.

Depending on the results of those first seven games, the Pioneers will either move on to the Division 5 North Playoffs or have their remaining schedule filled with three games against other non-playoff teams.

Barring a trip to the Super Bowl, the Pioneers will wrap up the 2017 season in North Reading on Thanksgiving Day, November 23 at 10:30 a.m. against the Hornets.