By Melissa Moore-Randall
Many often think of fall when they think of football. However, six Revere boys hit the gridiron this spring that led to a championship run. Carlos Ortiz, David Canelis, Mason Hiduchick, Lorenzo Froio and Mason Julianoour are part of the TopGun Academy which is a rapidly growing youth spring softball program and academy based out of Lynn The program is made up of 5 age groups 8u, 10u, 12u, 14u and 15u. The program offers a high level of competitiveness, technical development and football education. Players on the 12U team played on the Revere Jr. Patriots 2019 Pop Warner 10U team coached by George Chafin.
â€œWeâ€™re a non profit privately run youth football organization in the New England Youth Tackle Football League (NETYFL), which is a spring tackle football league based out of Lynn. We practice in Lynn and play our home games at Malden Catholic High School in Malden. Our program is made up of athletes from mostly the surrounding communities of Lynn, Revere, Malden, Everett, Beverly, Salem, Peabody and even have players traveling from Lawrence, Tewksbury, Dracut and Dorchester. We even have a kid that commutes all the way up from Taunton. Our league is made up of teams all over Eastern and Central Massachusetts and teams from Rhode Island and Connecticut as well, â€ said Coach Mike Juliano.
â€œSome local teams are the Lynn Silverbacks, Revere Panthers, and Everett Tide. In this league kids are free to choose which organization they want to play for. This aspect makes the league extremely competitive and fun for our kids. Many of the kids in our program will play kids in the fall that weâ€™re on their Top Gun team in spring. This season has been challenging considering last season our 10U went undefeated and won the championship while not giving up a touchdown until the playoffs and beat teams by an average of 36 points. This season has been completely different with many new teams joining this year. It’s become a lot more competitive,â€ added Juliano.
â€œAsk anyone who knows about the NEYTFL, Top Gun has the hottest uniforms in the league. But seeing the kids in the uniforms opening day and all the parents and family members that came to show support was awesome. To see how far Top Gun has come in such a short period is something we are all proud of. We started as a position, skill, and conditioning clinic that turned into an elite youth football program that gets over 150 kids including cheerleaders on the field being active, leading valuable life lessons like accountability, discipline, teamwork, perseverance and so on. To see players from so many different backgrounds all working together towards the same goal and building bonds that may last long after their youth football days and creating memories that will last a lifetime all while having fun and performing on the field at an elite level. As long as I coach, that will always be a recurring highlight for me.â€
The team had an impressive playoff run including facing the Lynn Silverbacks beating them 38-0 in the first round of the playoffs. Second round they played the Everett Tide, easily defeating them 40-0. In the semifinal round they went up against the Worcester Cowboys. â€œThey beat us 33-0 in week 2. This was a big one not just because it was the last game before the championship but redemption weighed heavy on us. We had a solid week of practice and film study and I could feel our kids were dialed in, focused and not only understood the game we had to play but weâ€™re ready for the challenge. We rolled into Holy Cross in Worcester and proved that we are the best 12U in the state of mass beating them 28-12 completing the task and securing a spot in the NETYL 12U Championship.â€ Unfortunately, their run for the championship came to an end when they played the CT Pride in the championship. Coach Juliano called the team far superior, more physical, bigger, faster, and a more mature team. â€œOur kids never gave up and played till the last whistle despite the game being over half way through the first quarter. Our kids showed tons of heart and comradery throughout the season. A season that had some ups and unfamiliar downs, but at the end of the season weâ€™re the number 2 team in New England. The number 2 ranking speaks volumes for what our players and coaching staff was able to accomplish. Iâ€™m extremely proud of our kids and excited to see what the future holds for Top Gun Academy.â€