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BVT Football Trying to Shed “Tech School” Label

After Littleton eliminated Blackstone Valley Tech from the Division 6 Central Mass football playoffs, the Beavers' coaching staff had a pretty good idea that their season would extend beyond Thanksgiving Day. By virtue of a 10-1 record and an unbeaten mark against vocational schools earned Valley Tech a spot in the Vocational Super Bowl this Thursday at Braintree High School. The recognition was bittersweet.
"One of the things we are trying to do is lose the whole 'voke school' label," said head coach Jim Archibald. "This is a good opportunity to get some recognition state-wide, and it's an extra week for our seniors, so we are going to have fun and be light and loose. But this is not the super bowl we wanted to play in."
The Beavers Super Bowl opponent is Northeast Metro Regional Tech out of Wakefield. Northeast plays in the Commonwealth League, large-school division and competes in Division 5 in Eastern Mass. They won their first nine games of the year before losing to Bishop Fenwick and Auburn. Like BVT, they were unbeaten against vocational schools and have a high-powered offense, averaging more than 33 points per game with five 40-plus point outputs.
"They are fast, big, and physical, and they have about twice our enrollment," said Archibald. "It's going to be a challenge."
The bigger challenge for Archibald and his coaching staff has been fighting the stigma that the vocational schools are somehow different than their public and parochial peers.
"When I came to BVT, people would say 'the voke schools should be on their own' or 'you're only going to get so much out of voke school kids," he said. "I hated that label. It's still football, we are going to coach our kids the same way, and the kids are no different. They just happen to be learning a trade."
The Beaver football program has managed to do plenty of winning against all kinds of schools over the past three years. Valley Tech has won 31 games over the past three years. They won the Super Bowl last year and advanced to the sectional final this season. This year's team beat traditional public school powers Maynard and West Boylston en route to the appearance in the sectional title game.
"With this new playoff system, we have to play everyone in the playoffs and that is the format we want to win," said Archibald. "We don't want to be looked at as a team that is only good against the other vocational schools."
Football is not the only sport in which BVT has been able to transcend the "voke school" label. The baseball and girls' volleyball teams, for example, have both gone unbeaten in league play in the past year and have made more than a little noise in the MIAA playoffs while also sending student-athletes to play at the collegiate level. As for Archibald, he'll be happy to send his seniors off with a win in the vocational Super Bowl, but will not stop setting his sights on the higher prize.
"We coach and run our program with the mindset of getting to the state level and competing with all schools," he said. "That has been our goal since day one and that's what we will continue to try to do, to get the kids to realize that just because they go to a voke school, doesn't mean they can't compete with anyone in the state."




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