Redmen Will Try To Rebound Against Wilmington
Nov 26, 2014 01:08PM ● Published by Rick Spencer
Senior James Sullivan (3) and Jimmy HIrtle (21, blocking) have led the Tewksbury High offense this season.
The Tewksbury High football team has had just four days to lick its wounds after being eliminated from the MIAA playoffs by Melrose in the state semi-finals this past Saturday, and now Mother Nature is making life even more difficult for the Redmen.
In spite of a forecast that calls for as much as 10 inches of snow overnight, the Wilmington High athletic department said on Wednesday afternoon that there was "very little chance" that Thursday's annual Thanksgiving Day game would be postponed due to the wintry weather the region is currently experiencing.
The game is scheduled for a 10 a.m. start at Wilmington High's Alumni Stadium. The playing surface in Wilmington is artificial field turf, which can be cleared of snow given a few hours of prep time.
Tewksbury will try to rebound from a heart-breaking, 14-7 loss to Melrose Saturday evening at Cawley Stadium in Lowell. Wilmington qualified for the MIAA playoffs this season, but lost in the first round, 12-0 to Beverly. The Wildcats bring a 4-6 record into the contest.
But Wilmington is coming off its most impressive win of the season, a 42-6 thrashing of Somerville last Friday night. That score represented both the most points Wilmington has scored in a game this season, as well as the least points the team has allowed in a game this season.
The key to last week's Wildcat win over Somerville was senior running back Matthew Penney, who ran for 174 yards and three touchdowns, much of it coming out of the Wildcat formation. Junior running back Matt Woods also had a big night, contributing 133 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Wilmington scored on its first five drives and gained over 300 yards on the ground against Somerville.
That game was an encouraging turnaround for the Wildcats, who rode a five game losing streak into the contest. Offensive production has been hard to come by for Wilmington this season, as the Wildcats have been shut out three times and scored a total of just 13 points during that five-game winless skid.
Tewksbury brings an 8-3 record into the game, and had been riding a hot hand both offensively and defensively before bumping into a hot Melrose team last weekend. The Redmen, behind a powerful running game led by senior RBs James Sullivan and Jimmy Hirtle,
had averaged over 37 points per game in a four-game win streak that led up to the Melrose game, and had allowed an average of 4.75 points per game during that run.
Hirtle and Sullivan have both scored 12 touchdowns this season and both have rushed for close to 800 yards. Junior quarterback Brett Morris has also played well this season, passing for 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Redmen have been led defensively by senior linebackers Tom Casey and Andrew Nguyen, while senior defensive linemen Ethan Eloi and Alex Schelfhaudt, and senior defensive back Ryan Bednarek have also stood out.