Perfect rally by Red­men

Boston Herald - - SCOREBOARD - By BRIAN ROACH

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.

STAFF PHOTOS BY PA­TRICK WHITTEMORE

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.

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