Tewksbury's Defense Never Rests; Redmen Blank Chelmsford, 17-0
Sep 07, 2014 09:39AM ● Published by Bill Gilman
Gallery: Tewskbury overwhelms Chelmsford, 17-0 [8 Images] Click any image to expand.
Tom Casey ran for a pair of touchdowns and Andrew Nguyen led a relentless defense, as the Redmen opened the 2014 season by blanking Chelmsford, 17-0 at Doucette Field.
After a perfect season in 2013, Tewksbury ran its win streak to 14 games. But Coach Brian Aylward said he and his staff made clear to the 2014 squad that last year's success is history and they will have to work to make their own mark.
"We talked about it (with the players) all in the off-season. You were part of a team, 13-0, state champions, no one can take that away from you," said Aylward. "But now, we're going to bury that ... and now it's all about taking advantage of the opportunities you have. Now's your chance. Go out and make it happen."
The Tewksbury defense set the tone on Chelmsford's opening possession, with senior linebackers Casey and Nguyen recording back-to-back sacks of Lions' quarterback Jack Campsmith. It wouldn't be the last time Campsmith wound up on his back courtesy of Nguyen, who had 3 1/2 of the Redmen's six sacks on the day.
"They're a good team and they play hard. We just wanted to go out and play tough on the defensive front and put pressure on them," said Nguyen.
For the game, Tewksbury limited Chelmsford to just 31 yards rushing and 86 yards of total offense. The Redmen also forced three turnovers, including fumble recoveries by Casey and Scott Pastorello.
Offensively, Tewksbury struggled in the early going. Chelmsford's defense did a good job containing James Sullivan, holding the bruising running back to just 53 yards on 14 carries.
The Redmen were finally able to break the ice late in the second quarter, when Casey capped an 11-play, 72-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run. Junior quarterback Brett Morris kept the drive alive with a huge 20-yard completion to Ryan Bednarek on fourth-and-10 from the Chelmsford 29-yard-line.
Morris completed five of eight passes and played mistake free football in his first varsity start.
"(Morris') better days are ahead of him," said Aylward, who said Chelmsford's pass rush early in the game caused the Redmen to go with a more conservative offensive attack. "We had some concerns with our (pass) protection. Once those linebackers started getting into that stunt game, it caused some come concerns for us on the protection end. (Morris) didn't get a chance to really show what he can do and he will."
Tewksbury pushed it's lead to 10-0 in the third quarter. An interception by Bednarek in Chelmsford territory set up a 22-yard field goal by Mitchell Miskell. The senior kicker showed off a powerful leg throughout the game and appears to give Aylward a potent weapon in the kicking game he hasn't had in many years.
The fourth quarter belonged to the pounding Tewksbury defense, which imposed its will on Chelmsford play after play.
A sack by Nguyen was followed by another by Nguyen and defensive end Alex Schelfaudt, forcing Chelmsford to punt from its own 8. Troy Carey took advantage, returning the punt deep into Lions' territory.
Two plays later, the Redmen caught Chelmsford in a blitz, running a perfectly executed counter trap. The offensive line opened a gaping hole and Casey (11 carries, 72 yards) raced 21 yards for the touchdown to up the lead to 17-0.
"Casey is, in his own right, a player that I don't think gets the respect he deserves," said Aylward. "He might not be able to beat the fastest kids in the state in a race but he's a great kid and a great leader. He plays so hard all the time and he's done it his entire time here."
Tewksbury enjoys a week off before gearing up for its biggest challenge of the regular season. The Redmen head down I-93 for a showdown against Division 1 power Everett on Friday night, Sept. 19.