Perfect rally by Redmen
TEWKSBURY — A tough hard-nosed victory is what a football team needs early in the season to get the feel of what it will be like later in the season. Tewksbury already has had two such victories this season.
Yesterday, the Redmen had to rally from a fivepoint hole in the fourth quarter on their way to a 22-19 Merrimack Valley Conference crossover victory against Methuen at Doucette Stadium.
“I’m so happy our guys were able to answer the gut-check times late in the game,” Tewksbury coach Brian Aylward said. “We got some big plays off a couple different kids.”
Despite trailing most of the way, Methuen (1-1) grabbed a 19-14 lead with just over four minutes to go. Saul Cespedes capped the Rangers’ seven-play, 60-yard drive with a 34-yard scamper for the touchdown. The two-point conversion pass failed.
Tewksbury (2-0) knew it had to work quickly as the offense got the ball at its own 47. Seven plays later, the Redmen had marched to the Methuen 16. On fourth-and-3, junior quarterback James Connolly had enough protection to complete a toss to Masyn Lorick in the back of the end zone, putting the hosts up by a point.
A two-point conversion pass from Connolly to Blake Hiltz made it 22-19 with just under two minutes to play in the game.
“(Methuen) had a good plan to stop our run and they had a physical edge upfront,” Aylward said. “It was smart to do it that way, but we knew we couldn’t just grind it out (with the run) against this team.”
Connolly completed 10-of-16 passes for 163 yards and all three Tewksbury scores. Lorick caught two of those touchdown passes, including the game’s first score from 30 yards out for a 7-0 Tewksbury lead in the second quarter.
On the final drive for Methuen, the Tewksbury defense held strong as it stopped the Rangers on four downs, including a fourth-down sack by senior captain Joe Rosberg.
“It wasn’t just me,” Rosberg said. “Our team really banded well together. The heat today really put up an obstacle for us and it was a great test to how tough (we) are. I am so proud of my whole team.”
Rosberg finished with two tackles for losses and a deflected pass. The Redmen defense on the whole forced Methuen to turn the ball over three times, including first-half interceptions for Brandon Winn and Lorick.
Tewksbury went ahead 14-7 on its second drive of the second half, marching 80 yards on seven plays capped by a 1-yard pass from Connolly to Hiltz.
Methuen’s first score came late in the second quarter as AJ Borrelli passed to Jordan Perdomo for a 14yard TD, leaving the game tied 7-7 at halftime. The Rangers cut into Tewksbury’s lead early in the fourth as Perdomo passed to Sawyer Bilich for a 25-yard score.
PRETTY PICKED OFF: Methuen quarterback Jordan Perdomo (11) tackles Tewksbury’s Brandon Winn after Winn intercepted Perdomo’s pass during the second quarter of yesterday’s showdown in Tewksbury.
STEPPING OUT: Tewksbury’s Braden Hiltz (8) looks to put a move on Methuen’s Jonathan Ouellete yesterday in Tewksbury.