Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Underarmour 7 v 7; Revised Pioneer Season Schedule

by Tom Condardo

Today I want to touch on this Saturday's UnderArmour 7 v 7 tournament as well as take a look at the revised Pioneer season schedule.

UnderArmour 7 v 7

The Pioneers will once again be participating in this tournament to be held at Bishop Fenwick High School this Saturday, July 26th, beginning at 10 am. Here is the complete schedule and the field layout.
Lynnfield is in the "G" group along with Essex Tech, BB&N, Lynn English, and Lawrence. There are a total of eight groups and the top two teams in each group move on to the playoffs. Here's a link to the game rules.

A total of 40 teams are participating in the tournament.

2014 Schedule
If you're itching to watch the Pioneers cavort on their very own, brand new turf field, you're going to have to be just a little more patient. In a scheduling change made to provide more time for the new field to be completed, the season opener game against Pentucket has been shifted from a home game to an afternoon away game in West Newbury on September 6. That will be followed by three more road tilts against Newburyport, Amesbury, and Manchester-Essex.

After four straight road games, the Pioneers will return home for the big Friday night home opener on October 10 against Georgetown under the lights to christen the new field. At this point, there is only one more night game scheduled at home, but that could change. The final three games won't be scheduled until post season playoff participants have been set. The Pioneers will likely have another home game or two of those final three games.

The annual Thanksgiving Day game against North Reading will also be played on the new field which is an added attraction to the rivalry contest.

The Pioneers also have a bye this year in week three. That will be the week after the two non-league games and before the league opener.

Below is the latest revised Pioneer schedule and here's a link to the scheduling site in case more changes are made.

Saturday, September 6,  Non-league game @ Pentucket, 1 pm

Friday, September 12 - Non-league game @ Newburyport, 7 pm

Friday, September 26 - League opener @ Amesbury, 7 pm

Friday, October 3 - League game @ Manchester/Essex, 7 pm

Friday, October 10 - League game home opener vs Georgetown, 7 pm

Saturday, October 18 - League game @ Hamilton-Wenham, 2 pm

Friday, October 24 - League game home vs. Ipswich, 7 pm

October 31/November 1 - TBA

November 7/8 - TBA

November 14/15 - TBA

Thursday, November 27 - Thanksgiving Day game home vs North Reading, 10:30 am

Preseason practice kicks off August 18th, less than a month away.

That's if for now. Check back for more updates.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pioneers Capture St. Anselm's 7 v 7 Championship

by Tom Condardo

It was a small step, but a very impressive one as the Pioneers kicked off their summer campaign Sunday, June 29 by winning the St. Anselm 7 v 7 passing tournament in Manchester, N. H. The Pioneers topped 23 other teams from Massachusetts and New Hampshire in the tournament which consists of passing offense and defense only.

Tournament Champs (Photo by Robin Kinnon) Head coach Neal Weidman, Steve Kinnon, David Adams, Louis Ellis, Jake Rourke, Chad Martin, Jon Knee, Alex Soden, Danny Sullivan, Drew McCarthy, Dan Bronshvayg, Cam Rondeau, Kyle Hawes,  Drew Balestrieri, Ricky Johnson, Rob DeBonis, Jack McHugh, Evan Battaglia.

"We made it to the semi's a couple of times in the past," said head coach Neal Weidman. "It's not real football but the biggest thing was just seeing them compete."

The tournament consisted of four groups of six teams each. Lynnfield was placed in Group 3 with Andover, North Middlesex, New Hampton Prep, Pembroke, and Dracut.

Group 1 included Swampscott, Lawrence, Londonderry 1, Memorial, Billerica, and All Day Football (mostly players from Tewksbury).

Group 2 was Danvers, North Andover, Watertown, Alvirne, Haverhill, and Ipswich.

Group 4 was comprised of Londonderry 2, ConVal, Triton, Central Catholic, Bridgewater Raynham, and Melrose.

Each team played four games within their group and the top two teams in each group advanced to the playoffs. The Pioneers won their group with a 3-1 record.

Tournament MVP Jon Knee
(Photo by Pat Rondeau)
The Pioneers opened strong by routing Pembroke 34-12 and New Hampton 40-20. They ran into a tough Dracut team and lost 26-20 in overtime in their third contest. The Pioneers took on undefeated Andover in their last group game knowing they had to win to advance to the playoffs. They outgunned the Warriors 44-34 in a shootout to finish 3-1 winning the group thanks to that head to head win.

Lynnfield kept rolling in the first round of the playoffs soundly beating Alvirne 42-22. In the semi's they came up against a familiar nemesis in All Day Football.

"We lost to them in the semi finals last year so the kids wanted to beat them this year," said Weidman. "It got a little chippy but we didn't back down. We ended up winning 26-16 which was awesome."

The championship came down to a rematch with Andover who ran through the other side of the tournament bracket. The Pioneers prevailed again, this time by a 26-22 count, to take the crown.

Jon Knee, one of the Pioneer’s three tri captains for the upcoming season, was named tournament MVP. Quarterback Danny Sullivan and defensive standout Cam Rondeau, the other two Pioneer captains, also played well, according to Weidman.

“Sully played great,” said Weidman. “He just has such a clue as to what’s going on out there. He called all the plays. When Jake McHugh and Louis Ellis went in at quarterback they called their own plays too. The quarterbacks ran the show the whole time.

"The linebackers ran the show on defense as well,"Weidman continued. "We didn't change up much.
Pioneer captains (l to r) Danny Sullivan, Jon Knee, Cam Rondeau
(Photo by Pat Rondeau)
We played mostly zone. Some of the teams we played were real fast. Ricky Johnson probably had seven or eight interceptions. Danny Bronshvayg, Rob DeBonis, and Chad Martin also played great.  In seven games I bet the ball didn’t hit the ground 15 times. It was unbelievable. The quarterbacks’ throws were on the money and we caught everything.

"There were 19 or 20 guys there and they all played well," Weidman said.

Weidman was also pleased with a lot of the younger players.

"Some guys that haven't played a ton that we know we're counting on look like they want to play this year," said Weidman. "I think they said 'you know what, it's my turn.' But it's 7 on 7. We have to wait until we get the pads on to know for sure but a couple of guys that have been working at it look like they want to get themselves some time on the field."

The Pioneers have competed in the tournament for the five years it has been in existence, but this is the first time they have won it all. 

Lynnfield will also be competing in the tough 40 team East Regional of the Underarmour 7 v 7 tournament at Bishop Fenwick on July 26.  

Bishop Fenwick Schedule Update

Here are the times and opponents for the Pioneers for the July 7 v 7 league games at Bishop Fenwick:

Tuesday evening, July 8 - 6:20 pm vs Triton; 6:50 pm vs Billerica

Tuesday evening, July 15 - 7:20 pm vs Winthrop; 7:50 pm vs. Winchester

Tuesday evening, July 22 - 7:20 pm vs Salem; 7:50 pm vs Billerica

Tuesday evening, July 29 - 6:20 pm vs Pinegree; 6:50 pm vs. Danvers

Field Update

Photos taken Wednesday July 2:

Playing Field view from far end of parking lot towards high school
 (here comes the gravel!)
Future Site of Coach Weidman's inspirational halftime speeches

That's it for now. Check back periodically for updates throughout the summer.