For the second consecutive year, the Tewksbury High football team is champion of the Merrimack Valley Small Conference.
Thanks to a 34-14 beat-down on Methuen Friday night, the Redmen improved to 5-4 overall and 4-0 in the MVC Small.
“No one can take that away from you,” Aylward told his team. “But go and take this next game too."
After facing Dracut next week and Wilmington on Thanksgiving, Tewksbury will represent their conference in postseason play.
“We get the privilege to go and represent our league, but it’s also a responsibility,” said Tewksbury head coach Brian Aylward.
Aylward and his Redmen are focused on next week, and not the playoffs.
“It’s not going to be a pretty couple weeks if we can’t execute and continue to get better,” he said. “They’ve got to stay humble and they’ve got to stay focused on this next game, and that’s all I’m focused on,” he continued.
Aylward and his men are going for an aggressive approach focused on improvement rather than playing it conservatively and resting up before the playoffs.
“We want to be peaking and playing better than we did the week before,” Aylward said.
“When they put it all together, they’re deadly,” he said of their next opponent, Dracut.
Against Methuen, Tewksbury simply ran the ball down their throats.
With 280 total rushing yards, the Redmen were in control from the opening kickoff.
Quarterback Johnny Aylward is emerging as the team’s biggest offensive threat. His 13 carries and 121 rushing yards led the team. He punched in a five-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Aylward was five for seven passing the ball for 68 yards.
His supporting cast helped the Redmen offense make the Methuen defense look porous.
James Sullivan pitched in 56 yards off 10 carries. He had a pair of rushing touchdowns and had a 48 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown during garbage time.
Tom Casey was efficient with 48 yards from six carries. Eddie Matovu continued his consistent, hard-nosed running with 44 rushing yards off eight carries and a touchdown.
Kevin Dick was the only effective wide receiver gaining 66 huge, drive sustaining yards from three catches.
Tewksbury’s weapons are clearly the envy of the MVC Small.
“We need them all,” Aylward said of his offensive studs.
On Tewksbury’s opening drive, the Redmen marched down the field and had Sullivan pounded in a touchdown from the two yard line.
Methuen’s first drive of the game resulted in Eddie Matovu recovering a fumble. Matovu made Methuen pay once again with a two yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive to make it 14-0.
In the second, Sullivan picked up his second touchdown on a one yard run to make it 20-6 at the half.
Tewksbury, clinical in the second half, forced a three and out on Methuen’s first possession and on the ensuing drive they called Aylward’s number to scramble for five yards and a touchdown making it 28-6 going into the fourth.
Sullivan made his mark on defense when sniffing out a fumble and returning it 48 yards for a conference clinching touchdown.
Methuen’s Mike Baglieri set the final score at 34-14 with a 20 yard rushing touchdown.
“They have a tremendous opportunity and they need to take advantage of the opportunities that they get,” Aylward concluded.
The Redmen will look to build on their third straight win on Saturday, at home, against Dracut.