Tewksbury High had a chance to knock off an unbeaten team for the second week in a row, but fell short in a slugfest at Doucette Field, 51-42 to Andover.
“I think that this is one that will go down as one of the all-time games,” said Redmen head coach Brian Aylward.
From the opening kickoff to the final gun, both teams “spilled their guts,” as Aylward said. They combined for 93 points and enough highlight reel plays to keep the healthy crowd in suspense until the finish.
After beating a 3-0 Lowell squad last week, 21-0, Aylward had his squad ready to go against another powerhouse offense.
“Last week was a tremendous win, one for the ages,” Aylward said. “It doesn’t matter what happens today, or 20 years from now, that’s something that no one will be able to take away from you,” he told his players.
“You have the ability to do that again today,” he told the Redmen before the game.
In the end, Tewksbury had its best offensive game of the season, but the defense looked like a sieve at various key moments.
“If you let up 51 points, it’s likely that you’re not going to win,” said Aylward. “I think that we had some opportunities to stop them; that would have been great, but we didn’t,” he concluded.
Quarterback Johnny Aylward threw for 163 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for one. Kevin Dick had seven receptions for 139 yards and three touchdowns. Eddie Matovu ran the ball 11 times for 58 yards and two touchdowns.
“I thought Johnny Aylward was awesome. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to look at that,” said his head coach and father. “When you have guys like that put their neck out on the line, everyone else does too."
Tewksbury opened up the game with a phenomenal drive that ended in a beautiful 28-yard pass from Johnny Aylward to Kevin Dick. James Sullivan added a two-point conversion to make it 8-0 out of the gate.
Andover answered back with a quick score. Quarterback C.J. Scarpa threw a 45-yard screen pass to Cam Davey that made it 8-8.
On Tewksbury’s next drive, Dick caught another touchdown pass, this one was a 59-yard catch and run connection with Aylward that made it 14-8.
Andover didn’t flinch and scored on a nine yard touchdown run by Jack Sylvester that made it 15-14 Andover late in the first.
In the second quarter, Andover took a 21-14 lead thanks to Scarpa’s 32 yard touchdown toss to Andrew Deloury.
Eddie Matovu scored the first of his two touchdowns on the day when he punched one in from the one yard line making it 21-20 late in the second quarter.
Andover scored on their first possession of the second half thanks to a one yard run by quarterback C.J. Scarpa; that made it 29-20.
Tewksbury drove the ball methodically on the ensuing drive, and Eddie Matovu picked up his second touchdown on an 18 yard scamper that made it 29-26.
The Golden Warriors answered right back when Scarpa hit a 62 yard pass to Deloury. Scarpa finished off the drive with a three yard touchdown run making it 37-26 late in the third.
Once again, the Redmen held their own, putting together a key drive. Kevin Dick picked up his third touchdown catch, this one an 18-yarder. Dick made the play of the day, hauling in the catch and getting both feet in bounds in the back of the end zone making the score 37-34 after Aylward ran in the two point conversion.
Dick struck again, this time on the defensive side, with a huge interception. The Redmen couldn’t do anything with the ball in Andover territory, which proved to be fatal.
Andover took over on downs in the middle of the fourth quarter and put together a drive that was finished off by a 16 yard touchdown catch by Cam Farnham.
Down 43-34, Eddie Matovu gave the Redmen hope by returning the kickoff to the Andover 22 yard line. Aylward ran it in from the one-yard line making it 43-42 with one minute left.
The onside kick was unsuccessful and Andover scored on a 50-yard touchdown run by Jack Sylvester setting the final score at 51-42.
Next week the 2-3 Redmen travel to Lawrence to face 4-1 Central Catholic.