TEWKSBURY – Last week we ran the TMHS Girls Outdoor Track-and-Field All-Decade team and I stated that the program was by far ahead of all of the others in terms of success in the decade. And while the girls track team holds that title, on the boys side, certainly football and ice hockey are neck-and-neck.
What a decade on the gridiron!
From 2010-'19, the Redmen had a combined record of 90-29. Of the ten years, only once did Tewksbury finish under .500 and that was in 2010 with a 5-6 mark. The Redmen won a MVC Championship title in eight of the ten years, won all ten Thanksgiving Day games against Wilmington, won a Super Bowl, lost in two others, and also lost in two other Eastern Mass Finals. Tewksbury finished 20-8 in the playoffs, and of the eight losses, four of them by a combined 17 points.
Among the many highlights of the decade included the 2013 team, which finished perfect at 13-0 and dominated a very good Plymouth South team, 42-14 in the Super Bowl. Certainly that Redmen team was talented and although it's all debatable, that squad could very well be the best to ever play in the long, rich tradition of TMHS Football.
The 2011 team lost to Duxbury in the Super Bowl, which came after one of the all-time great wins over a superb Reading team in the playoffs.
In 2017, the Redmen were defeated by North Attleboro in the Eastern Mass Final, 29-21, before going to Gillette Stadium for the third time in eight years, losing to a Division 1 caliber Springfield Central team, 20-7. Then this past year, the Redmen came away with three thrilling playoff victories before falling to Duxbury in the Eastern Mass Final.
In the other years, Tewksbury was defeated in the North Final by Melrose in 2014, lost in the sectional semi-finals to Beverly in 2016 and then lost in the first round in 2012 to Reading and 2015 to Danvers.
Individually, six members of the program throughout the decade were named as Boston Globe or Herald All-Scholastics, while, ten individuals were named either the MVC Division 2 Player of the Year/Lowell Sun Player of the Year or to the All-State team.
In terms of this All-Decade team, we changed things up a bit. Due to the incredible amount of talent that this program has had over the ten years, we elected to put together a 'Super-6' team (see separate story), and then a First Team Offense and Defense squad, followed by a Second Team Offense and Defense team, and then three players who made an Honorable Mention team for a total of 53 players.
We took just one kid per position, so two-way players were slotted in the positions, we felt they were better in. We also configured the team to fit the deserving players, so for example the first team defense has three linebackers and just three defensive backs.
Again all picks were made by the Town Crier sports staff.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
QB: Brett Morris – Imagine throwing 1,000 yards with 12 TDs and not turning the ball over a single time, whether interception or fumble, and be the third best QB of the decade? That's pretty crazy.
Morris played two years (2014 and '15) as the QB and combined to throw over 2,150 yards with 22 TDs, while combining to win 17 games, including three in the playoffs.
A three-sport athlete, who also made appearances on our hockey and baseball decade teams, Morris went on to play football at St. Lawrence University.
RB: Chris Bettano – Two years ago, I overlooked Bettano when I did the Top-25 running backs of all-time. He should have been there and my apologies for that as he wasn't listed. Certainly that wasn't going to happen here.
His best season came in 2011 when he rushed for over 1,400 yards, scored 16 touchdowns and also had a receiving score. He was such a catalyst on offense, dominating games and leading the team to the Super Bowl.
He went on to play football at Anna Maria College.
RB: Brandon Winn – Winn also really excelled over a two-year period. In 2016, he rushed for 1,100 yards and scored 15 touchdowns, while helping the team finish 10-1 overall. The following year, he rushed for 950 yards with 13 TDs and also added two receiving scores as the Redmen were crowned the Division 3 North Champions before falling to North Attleboro.
He went on to play football at WPI.
FB: Tom Casey – If you look up the term 'Tewksbury Football' in the dictionary, there's a big picture of this guy, Tom Casey, who epitomizes what 'Tewksbury Tough' and what Tewksbury Football is all about. By far, the best fullback I have ever seen. In 2013, he was the lead blocker for James Sullivan, Eddie Matovu, Jimmy Hirtle and Johnny Aylward, who combined to rush for over 2,400 yards and score 36 touchdowns, while Casey himself added 600 yards and six rushing scores.
The following year he rushed for 500 yards with 7 touchdowns, while his teammates rushed for about 2,200 yards and 26 touchdowns.
He went on to play at Springfield College.
WR: Adam Gajjaoui – Although it took us a while to spell and pronounce his last name correctly, it didn't take anyone long to realize that he was incredibly skilled and talented on the football field. His ability catch everything thrown remotely to him was really something to see. Despite missing some games in 2015, he finished with 600 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns in just eight games and that came after a solid 350 yard, 2 TD season in '14.
He is now playing at the University of Maine.
TE: Blake Hiltz – A very good athlete who is making his third appearance on our teams, Hiltz was an outstanding blocker. In 2017, he was named to the All-Conference team after making 19 catches and scoring four touchdowns.
C: Johnny DeVito – A 5-foot-7, 165 pounds on a "good day", DeVito was by far the best center the team's had for the entire decade. His ability to snap the ball, get off the ball and block efficiently for a 13-0 Super Bowl team, all while being undersized, is certainly remarkable in itself.
OL: Ryan Eatherton – In 2010, he was named to the Lowell Sun's Honorable Mention All-Star team on a team that finished 5-6 and a year later, he was named All-Conference, while helping the Redmen advance to the Super Bowl, after a thrilling win over Reading in the semi-finals. He was just immense on both sides of the ball.
OL: Alex Hamilton – It's debatable but I think you can make a very strong case that he was the best offensive lineman of the decade. He was a two-time All-Conference lineman, who was part of two state championship teams, the TMHS Ice Hockey team in 2011 and then the TMHS Football team in 2013, which is truly incredible. He also made it to our All-Decade Baseball team as a DH.
He went on to play football at Union College.
OL: Robbie Kimtis – He just graduated, and last fall he polished off a real solid football career. A two-way lineman and a quiet leader as a captain, he was named the MVC Lineman of the Year as a guard, while he also played defensive tackle. He was immense on the offensive line this past year, helping the Redmen advance to the Eastern Mass Final.
OL: Justyn Lester – A two-year starter, who helped the team combine for 21 wins, Lester was certainly an unheralded star during those deep tournament runs. In 2017, he was part of a line that helped the offense combine for 2,700 yards and a year later that amount increased significantly with 4,200 yards, with 2,300 on the ground.
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
QB: Sean Connolly
RB: Anthony Arcari
RB: Troy Carey
RB: Jimmy Hirtle
WR: Ryan Vibber
WR: Frank McLaughlin
C: Sean McCarthy
OL: Sean Barker
OL: TJ Contalonis
OL: Jimmy Doran
OL: Alex Schelfaudt
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DE: Eddie Matovu – In his senior year, Matovu dominated as a defensive end, being named as the MVC Division 2 Defensive Player of the Year as well as being named to the All-State team. He finished that season with 100 tackles and also had three forced fumbles.
Matovu, who also has made appearances on our indoor and outdoor track teams, went on to play football at St. Anselm College.
DE: Trace Trant – When doing research for these teams, Trant was moved around to all different spots whether it was offensive line to defensive end to settling at defensive line. He was obviously a versatile two-way player, who simply put went to several different gears during his senior year, exploding on the defensive side of the ball.
DL: Evan Conway – A transfer from Lowell Catholic, Conway, 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, absolutely dominated games, especially in the 2011 season where he was named to the All-Conference team, while helping the Redmen defeat Reading in the playoffs, before falling to Duxbury at Gillette Stadium.
DL: Ethan Eloi – If this decade team ever played another team, I would love to see opposing running backs get past Eloi, Conway and company. Just wouldn't happen. In 2014, he was named to the MVC All-Conference team for the second straight year where he made 64 tackles and that came after being all-league and helping the Redmen finish 13-0, including a Super Bowl victory.
DL: Dan Sugrue – Probably, one of, if not, the most overlooked player in the decade. In 2010, he was named to the All-Conference team as well as a Lowell Sun second team All-Star. A three-year starter on both sides of the ball, who was around 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, he went on to play both football as a defensive lineman and competed on the track team at RPI.
LB: Jack Kelly – Kelly was a two-way player for several years, but really emerged as a senior in 2018. As a linebacker, he made 94 tackles with 13 for loss of yards, while also causing two forced fumbles and adding two interceptions to help lead the team's defense. He played such an important role on that side of the ball all season, including in the season finale at Gillette against Springfield Central. He was named to the MVC and Lowell Sun teams that season.
LB: Johnny Saunders – In the magical 2013 season, the Redmen had so many offensive weapons with Aylward, Sullivan, Matovu and Dick, that lost in the shuffle to some was the play of Saunders, another versatile player, who excelled at tight end, but especially as a middle linebacker. That season he was named to the MVC All-Conference team after making 132 tackles, averaging 10 per game.
LB: Derek Tarpey – In 2011, he was named the MVC Division 2 Lineman of the Year, but that was his second best position. By far he was the program's best linebacker throughout the decade – just a complete animal on defense and everywhere on the field. He helped the team reach the Super Bowl that year, while being one of the better all-time captains in many years. He went on to have a terrific career at UMass-Dartmouth, while later coming back to the program to coach.
DB: Ryan Bednarek – A mainstay on the defensive backfield for three years, including 2013 and '14 helping the team win a Super Bowl and 22 games, he was named to the All-Conference team as a senior, after finishing with five interceptions. He was named a MVC All-Star two years and then to the MVC All-Conference team as a senior. He also was a wide receiver and the team's punter.
He went on to play at Fitchburg State University.
DB: Masyn Lorick – Lorick made our Outdoor Track team as a three-time Eastern Mass place finisher in the high jump and here in football, he was a two-time MVC All-Conference selection, who as a safety, finished the 2017 season with 56 tackles and six interceptions, while also being named as a Lowell Sun First team All-Star.
He is currently playing at Stonehill College.
DB: Kevin Saunders – In 2011, as a quarterback, he led the team to its first Super Bowl appearance in 15 years, yet he makes it as a First Team Defensive Back. As tough as they come physically and mentally, he was awesome as a defensive back, selected as a league all-star in 2010 and then All-Conference in 2011.
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DE: Blake Hery
DE: Connor Nugent
DL: Jimmy Hannon
DL: Rob Pruyne
LB: Dan Altavesta
LB: Chris Andella
LB: Ryan Morris
LB: Andrew Nguyen
DB: Brad Gahagan
DB: Will Matovu
DB: Aaron Whitehouse
OL: Matt LaCascia
DB: Braden Hiltz
K: Mitch Miskell