TEWKSBURY — You can call him ‘Jack-of-all-Trades’ or a ‘Swiss Army Knife’ or just ‘Mr. Versatility’, and no matter which one you choose, Tyler Keough has proven just how valuable he is to the Redmen football team.
In Saturday’s home playoff opener against a very good Lynn English team, Keough had a day for the ages. As a wide receiver, he caught five passes for 108 yards and scored a touchdown. As a running back, he rushed the ball eight times for 27 yards. As the team’s kicker, he booted a huge 29-yard field goal, his first of the season and second in his career, while also converting all four of his PAT kicks.
Then he also was part of two trick plays — one on a kick-off return, when he took a lateral pass and went 35 yards ahead and then he also took another lateral pass as a wide out and tossed a 19-yard completion to teammate Nolan Timmons.
All of that equaled 189 all-purpose yards, as well as single-handily scoring 13 points in helping the No. 2 seed Redmen edge out the No. 7 Lynn English Bulldogs, 31-28, in a Division 2 North quarterfinal game played at Doucette Field.
Keough was asked if he knew that he was going to be involved in so many different aspects of the game when he woke up that morning.
“We knew that this was going to be a close one. I just went out there and made plays. I've been doing that since I was in the second grade. That's just my mentality,” he said. “(With Shane Aylward’s injury) I kind of switched positions a little bit. But I've been (playing football) for a while and I know what I'm doing. I just can't wait for Shane to come back.”
Until Aylward comes back, Keough, junior Kyle Darrigo as well as Kalu Olu and Danny Fleming have been asked to take on more of an offensive role. In this win, Keough and Darrigo combined for 147 rushing yards, 108 receiving yards, three touchdowns, a field goal, four PAT kicks, as well as the two trick plays for a combined 54 yards.
“We ask a lot of Tyler,” said head coach Brian Aylward. “We wouldn't ask him if we didn't think he could do it. For Kyle Darrigo to take the ball as much as he has, not being a big kid, but he has a big heart and he's as tough as nails. It's great that we have guys like that and we also have guys upfront who played very well.
“I thought Ryne (Rametta) was pretty clean today. He made a couple of big plays. He's another guy who helped us win today and move on in this tournament. That's all we want to do is stay in this tournament.”
Tewksbury was able to stay in the tournament because of so many players who stepped up and played terrific, especially Keough. In the team’s second offensive series of the game, Tewksbury was facing a third-and-five from the Bulldogs’ 24 yard line. Rametta dropped back to pass and fired a laser to the end zone and Keough coming from the right side, moved to the middle of the field and reached up high over his head, while creating space away from his defender, to make a sensational catch for the touchdown. His boot made it 7-0.
After Lynn English tied it up, Tewksbury got the ball back on its own 36. Keough came through with a big eight yard gain on a run to his right and two plays later, teammate Richard Markwarth caught a 9-yard TD pass from Rametta to make it a 14-7 game after Keough’s second successful PAT.
Again Lynn English answered and tied the game up. On the ensuing kick-off, the ball landed in the hands of Timmons, who turned to his right, and sent a lateral pass across the field to Keough. At the right sideline, he gave a quick burst of speed and gained 35 yards to the L33.
“Coach (Aylward) came up to me a couple of days ago and said 'hey we're going to do this' and I said 'yeah, let's do it'. I was watching film and saw how the coaches wanted it done so we were out here all week practicing it and today we got it done,” said Keough.
Two plays later, on second-and-six, Keough caught an 11-yard pass from Rametta for a big first down and three plays later, Darrigo scored on a 5-yard TD run make it 21-14.
After Tewksbury’s defense held LE down on fourth down, forcing the ‘dogs to turn the ball over on downs, the Redmen were able to gain two first downs and move the ball 52 yards to the LE 12. Two incomplete passes, forced Keough to the field, this time to attempt the 29-yard field goal.
“I was confident in myself,” said Keough. “Coach asked me if I wanted to try the kick and I said 'yeah, let's get the points'. I just went out there and kicked it.”
That kick gave Tewksbury a 24-14 halftime lead. The Redmen had the momentum on their side and that continued on the first place from scrimmage to open the third quarter when Keough caught a 51-yard pass from Rametta, and 15 additional yards was tacked on when Keough was taken down by his facemask. Three plays later Darrigo scored to make it 31-14.
Lynn English would go on to score the game’s final two touchdowns to cut the deficit to 31-28. Tewksbury then had the ball at midfield with 3:13 left. Lynn English had one timeout left so the Redmen needed two first downs to kill out the clock. On the second play,
Keough caught a 12-yard pass from Keough for the first one, and two running plays by Darrigo pushed the chains ahead for the second first down. Rametta then took a knee for the final two plays of the game, allowing Tewksbury to win and advance to face Concord-Carlisle at home on Saturday.
“I just know that we are going to come out flying all week in practice and keep the momentum going,” said Keough.