For the past eight seasons, the Vocational Bowl games have been a mid-week addition to Saturday’s MIAA Super Bowl lineup.
The games have been home to all the vocational schools with teams that had exceptional seasons but did not qualify for the MIAA playoffs, including teams playing as independents, such as Minuteman Tech.
The Mustangs (5-5) will be playing in their first postseason game since the football program’s inception in 1978.
“Playing [as an independent] that doesn’t get to go to a playoff, and missing out last year on going to the Vocational Bowl with a 7-3 record, playing this game is important to us,” said fifth-year Minuteman coach Brian Tildsley. “We put this as our No. 1 goal, to get back . . . because we thought we had our chance last year.”
Minuteman will clash Thursday with another Voke newcomer in Blue Hills (9-2) in the Small School Division game at 4:30 p.m. at Manning Field in Lynn.
Suiting up for Blue Hills in his curtain call as one of the state’s all-time leading rushers is Vincent Burton.
And after last year’s MIAA Division 4A Super Bowl championship, Warriors coach Ed Catabia hopes to end this season on the same note.
“This is our first time ever playing in this Bowl game, so it would be nice, having won the Super Bowl last year, to come back and raise a Vocational Bowl banner,” said Catabia.
“I wish Vincent all of the best,” added Catabia. “He’s just been such a phenomenal player for us.”
Following the Small Division game, Greater New Bedford (5-6) plays its third consecutive bowl game — a 7:30 p.m. matchup with Greater Lawrence (8-3), which is making its second consecutive appearance.
Last year the Bears, winners of their past two bowl games, got the best of Greater Lawrence with a slim 17-14 victory.
With a chance at a rematch and a championship, Greater Lawrence coach Tony Sarkis knows it will come down to limiting mistakes.
“It would be great for the seniors to end their career with a win,” said Sarkis.
“But we have to play mistake-free football.”
Leading Greater Lawrence will be senior running back Christian Rivera who is closing in on a school record 4,000 rushing yards for his career. “[Christian] does everything for us,” said Sarkis.
“Whatever we’ve asked him to do here, he’s done it.”