Since there’s no high school football season this fall, the Town Crier has been publishing archive game stories of old TMHS Football games, matching up the current week’s game. Below is the week three game from the October 7th, 1981 edition with the Redmen defeating Chelmsford.
It was simply another case of a Tewksbury High School football team that wouldn't quit, buoyed by the fact that this team knows that it can score from anywhere on the field. And now, it's safe to say, that the Chelmsford Lions know it too.
With 58 seconds left to play at Chelmsford Saturday, junior quarterback Jeff Vecchi completed a performance (14-for-21, 211 yards) that would be envied by most veterans when he lofted a 12-yard touchdown strike to senior receiver Mark Indelicato that gave the Redmen a 21-15 victory in what can only be termed a whopper of a game.
You'd never know it by taking a quick glance at the scoreboard, but the TMHS offense dominated this game, pounding and passing for 342 yards of total offense and 12 first downs, while, the Redmen defense limited the burly Lions to just six first downs and 131 yards.
It was also that defense that stopped the Lions at the TMHS 23 with 1:50 left in the game, giving the Redmen and Vecchi one last crack at the victory.
Things looked a little bleak for the locals just a couple of plays earlier when Vecchi was rushed hard and intercepted by Chelmsford's Pat McAndrews (the former TMHS Girls Basketball coach) at the Tewksbury 27.
But this team, perhaps more than any other Bob Aylward coached club, really believes that they are the best on the field at any given time, and that attitude, coupled with the most imaginative offense in the MVC, is what helped Tewksbury to the victory.
After the defense had stiffened following the Lion interception, the TMHS wide open offense went work, first with a Vecchi-Santos to Fay flea flicker that covered 27 yards to midfield. That first-and-10 call with 1:50 left, set the stage for the total collapse of a weary Chelmsford defense.
Vecchi kept the march moving with completions to Dan Munroe and Santos down to the CHS 28. Fullback Neil Simpson then carried the ball on the first-and-10 call, good for five yards to the 23.
The Lions looked like they had come up with the defensive crusher on the next play when that man McAndrews intercepted another Vecchi aerial at the 19, giving the home club a first-and-10 and a chance to run out the clock.
However, a pass interference penalty wiped out that big break, and the Redmen got another shot. Vecchi seems to have a penchant for the big plays, and let off the hook, he found the slick receiver Indelicato with the winning 12-yard TD toss on a well run pattern to the flag.
Chelmsford could have claimed that the interference call triggered the last minute defeat, but in truth, Tewksbury was in control after falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter when the Lions took the opening kickoff and marched 57 yards in eight plays. The drive was capped by quarterback Toby O'Brien's two-yard run.
Tewksbury took charge in the second quarter when senior back Frank Fay, the leading scorer in Division II, cracked over from three yards out and Charlie Santos toed the conversion to make it 7-7.
The lead was upped to 14-7 in the third quarter when Fay (again) finished off a brilliant drive with a 15-yard touchdown bolt.
This Lion team, co-coached by former Wilmington High School great Mike Esposito, struck back after not having moved the football since that first TD.
After a wobbly Santos punt gave Chelmsford excellent field position at the TMHS 30, the Redmen defense forced a fourth-and-10 call with just 3:31 left to play.
O'Brien then came up with the big play, finding running back George Oliver on a crossing pattern over the middle down to the Tewksbury two yard line.
Wayne Kingston banged over for the touchdown on the next play, had the Lions had chopped the lead to 14-13 with 3:16 remaining.
The home club elected to go for the two-point conversion and the victory, with O'Brien connecting with Charlies Micol (the former TMHS Boys Basketball coach) on the pass that put CHS up 15-14.
Chelmsford had Tewksbury back deep after a clipping penalty on the ensuing kickoff pushed the ball to the Redmen nine. However, the Redmen got their first break right here when McAndrews was called for interference, giving TMHS a first-and-10 from its own 20.
Tewksbury created its own breaks for the most part with an offense that appears to be in high gear just three games into the season.
Fay finished with 74 yards rushing and 74 more passing, as he continues to be the best all-purpose back in the conference.
Munroe caught four balls for 21 yards, while Indelicato hauled in three Vecchi aerials for 50 yards.
The most amazing play of the young season came during the 93-yard third quarter march that put Tewksbury up 14-7. Vecchi, scrambling back into his own endzone, avoided a safety and found Fay with a 22-yard pass to keep that series alive in what might have been the game's key play.