After rallying from an early deficit to take a fourth quarter lead, the Tewksbury High football committed three late turnovers, helping Billerica to a 34-26 victory on Saturday at Doucette Field.
“We did some things to get back in the game and then we did some things to let them back in it,” said Redmen head coach Brian Aylward.
Junior running back Eddie Matovu provided a spark with two rushing touchdowns despite battling leg cramps throughout the afternoon.
“He’s been a workhorse for us,” Aylward said of Matovu.
Tewksbury took its only lead of the game when Billerica gambled and lost late in the third quarter.
With the score tied at 20, the Indians went for it on fourth down and two from their own 28 yard line.
Junior quarterback Jordan Bolarinho, who had great success in the running game throughout the day, surged ahead on a quarterback draw but had the ball stripped by the Redmen defensive line.
Tim Sughrue came up with a scoop and score to put Tewksbury ahead 26-20 with time winding down in the third.
Unfortunately for the Redmen, that would be the last time they put points on the board.
Billerica answered right back and made it 27-26 on Bradley Drewek’s four-yard touchdown run.
Later in the fourth, the Redmen were threatening to take the lead when their drive stalled in Billerica territory.
With 3:35 to play, Aylward scrambled on a fourth and nine and found an open Tom Casey down the right sideline. Casey tipped and bobbled the pass before it fell incomplete.
On Billerica’s next play from scrimmage, Bradley Drewek snuck through the line for a 55-yard gain. He later finished off the drive with a four yard touchdown scamper making it 34-26.
Down by eight with 2:08 to play, Aylward and his offense moved the ball into Billerica territory, but the junior was picked off by Alec Mattar in the final minute.
“They made a good adjustment and we were out of timeouts,” said coach Aylward of the game ending play.
“We just couldn’t finish the deal on either side of the ball,” he concluded.
In the first half it was the Tewksbury defense that kept the Redmen alive. After consecutive sacks in the second quarter, the second one being a strip sack, Eddie Matovu pounded it in from the one yard line to make it 14-6.
Down 20-6, Aylward hit junior Kevin Dick over the middle on a playaction pass for a 65 yard touchdown that made it 20-14 at the half.
Next week, the Redmen face a tough task against the Lowell Red Raiders.
“We have to get ready to play next week against the hottest team in the league, Lowell,” said Aylward.
Lowell is 3-0 and has outscored its opponents 91-35 in its three wins.
Thanks to last week’s win over Haverhill, Tewksbury remains tied for first with North Andover in MVC Small competition. Both teams are 1-0 within the league.
The Redmen are tied for second place in terms of overall record with North Andover and Dracut.