CHEERS to the comeback kids from Lawrence, who earned a piece of Pop Warner Football glory over the weekend with a 19-0 win over the Pomperaug, Connecticut team. That sealed a New England championship for the 10U team and earned them a chance to go to Disney and play in what amounts to the Pop Warner national championship.

It’s been a long journey, as sports editor Bill Burt chronicled this past weekend. The Lawrence Pop Warner program was on the verge of going out of business when Chris Morales, who played in the Lawrence Pop Warner as a kid, stepped in to revive it. That was almost a year and a half ago.

Morales' fundraising and hard work -- and the support from the community -- paid the bills, bought new uniforms and set up a group of 10U players to run the table in this year’s regular season. Playoff wins against Billerica and Chelmsford set them up for the Eastern Mass title game, which they won against a team from Revere, and then a state title over Brockton.

They played for the New England championship on Saturday afternoon in Lynn.

“Amazing,” the team’s coach, Ryan Mustapha, told Burt of the victory and the opportunity it has given his team to play in Orlando. “We go from 28 degrees to 82 degrees. We deserve it. What a game. What a team we have.”

In the meantime, Morales, Mustapha and the adults who support the 10U team are beating the bushes to raise $30,000 to send the players, coaches and some families who cannot otherwise afford the trip to Florida. They got a sizable contribution last week from the McCourty brothers, as in Devin and Jason, who play for the New England Patriots.

Here’s hoping others will step up too, and here’s wishing the team from Lawrence every success as they compete on Pop Warner’s biggest stage.


CHEERS to what hopefully will be the last gas work in the area for a while.

Columbia Gas announced last week that it’s finished inspecting 2,000 out-of-service lines that once connected homes, businesses and other buildings to the natural gas network in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

This came after inspections of some 2,900 lines ordered by the state Department of Public Utilities. Through it all, the company was looking for old lines that were properly capped in accordance with state regulations when it replaced 43 1/2 miles of new gas main lines and another 5,086 service lines following the September 2018 gas disaster.

The three rounds of inspections — two ordered by the state, one initiated by Columbia Gas itself — turned up some 929 lines that needed attention, staff writer Bill Kirk reported. That represents a slightly less than 1 in 5 surveyed.

The need for inspections in the first place rankled many, pointing out yet another problem associated with the gas company since the Sept. 13, 2018 gas fires and explosions in the region. A gas leak around the anniversary of the disaster, forcing the evacuation of a south Lawrence neighborhood, prompted state officials to require the utility to revisit its work.

With the inspections done, the communities should be able to look toward repairing and repaving the roads. In Andover, where that process is expected to last three years, Town Manager Andrew Flanagan told Kirk the town and its residents will not tolerate further delays.

Let’s hope Flanagan and the rest of us don’t have to confront any. And, like Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera, we’ll look forward to a report from state regulators about Columbia Gas’ work leading up to the gas disaster, and its efforts since.

In the meantime, we can be thankful there's no more construction happening in the streets.

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