DRACUT – It could easily have been a trap game, and it felt that way throughout the first half especially. Coming off the tremendous win a week before over Haverhill before several thousands of people under the lights for the first time in program history, the undefeated Redmen, who already clinched the MVC Division 2 title for the third straight year, went on the road to face the winless Dracut Middies on Friday night.
Although Tewksbury chalked up 93 yards in penalties, gave up a season high 151 yards on the ground, they were again too powerful offensively and came away with a 42-21 victory to improve to 7-0 and seal the No. 1 spot in the upcoming Division 3 NorthWest Sectional playoffs.
Redmen head coach Brian Aylward was extremely impressed with Dracut, and said their talent alone is the reason why it was a one-score game with nine minutes to go in the third quarter.
“It was a good game,” he said. “They came to play and they are good. They are better than their record indicates for sure based on what they did. They were good upfront I thought and a real tough match-up for us in a lot of places. We made some big plays, but we were in a dogfight until the end.”
The big plays started right off the bat. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Johnny Aylward (8-for-13, 206 yards, 1 TD) gave a lateral pass to Eddie Matovu behind the line of scrimmage, and he darted out to some open space before chugging down the sideline for a 56-yard TD run.
Mitchell Miskell booted the PAT and just like that, 17 seconds into the game the Redmen were up 7-0.
Both teams followed by punting the ball on its next two possessions, and Tewksbury’s offense came back on the field to begin the second quarter with the ball on its own 45. Five plays later with the ball on the Dracut 33, Tewksbury called for an inside counter and junior James Sullivan went from the left to his right down into the end zone untouched for a 33-yard touchdown.
Dracut was called for a penalty on the conversion kick, thus Tewksbury elected to go for two, and Sully ran in the ball making it 15-0 with 8:07 left in the first half.
Sullivan then came up with an interception on Dracut’s ensuing drive, picking the ball off on the Redmen 18. After a short five-yard gain by junior fullback Tom Casey as well as a 15-yard facemask penalty against Dracut moved the ball to the Tewksbury 38, Aylward dropped back and found Kevin Dick (5 catches, 148 yards) open in the left flat for a 62-yard strike making it 21-0 after the conversion kick failed.
Dracut followed by scoring the game’s next two touchdowns cutting the lead down to 21-14 with 8:48 left in the third. Tewksbury responded by putting together a 10-play, 71-yard drive capped off by Casey scoring on a 1-yard run, and that was set up by a 40-yard reception by Kevin Dick coming on a huge 3rd-and-15 from the Redmen 24.
Dracut was forced to punt on the next drive and senior Dom Rosado gave Tewksbury great field position with a 33-yard punt return which ended the third quarter. From there the Redmen strung together a 6-play, 39-yard drive finished off by James Hirtle, whose first rush of the game was good for a 19-yard touchdown. The teams exchanged touchdowns over the final eight minutes including Sullivan scoring his second touchdown form three yards out with four seconds left in the game.
On the night, Tewksbury put up 461 yards of offense, including 206 by Aylward, who was very good in this game, as well as 255 rushing yards behind 102 from Sullivan and 83 from Matovu.