Friday Night Thriller! Redman Rally Past Methuen, 31-30 (Video Clips)
Sep 17, 2018 04:03PM
● By Bill Gilman
The relationship between Methuen High and Tewksbury High is tight. The schools share co-op teams for swimming and for girls' ice hockey. And Rangers' coach Tom Ryan was a former assistant coach for the Redmen under Brian Aylward and a teacher at the high school.
On Friday night, the teams battled with an intensity reserved for siblings.
The Redmen (2-0) were playing catchup through much of the game, as Methuen jumped in front, 10-0, in the first quarter on a 32-yard field goal by Justin Sheehan and an end zone fumble recovery by Liam Gilmore.
The Redmen answered with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Jay Connolly to Shane Aylward right before halftime. They took their first lead early in the third quarter on a 15-yard touchdown run by John Kelly (7 carrries, 76 yards). Keough's kick made it 14-10.
But Methuen, much improved over the past two seasons, seemed to take control of the game on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Connor Bryant to Ricky Brutus and a 9-yard scoring run by Bryant to claim a 24-14 lead.
It didn't take long for Tewksbury to respond, as Connolly connected with Aylward on a 71-yard touchdown strike to cut the deficit to 24-21 after three quarters.
Methuen extended the lead on the first play of the fourth quarter, with Isaac Frederique hauling in a 41-yard touchdown pass from Bryant . But this time, the Redmen blocked the extra point try, a play that would prove huge in the closing moments.
Down 30-21, it was Connolly (11 of 26, 230 yards, 3 TDs) finding Aylward from 39 yards out for his third touchdown of the night, cutting the lead to just two points with 4:40 to play. Aylward finished with five catches for 170 yards and the three scores.
A huge stop on defense set up the Redmen for what would be the winning drive. Keough provided the exclamation mark with the 32-yard field goal, giving Tewksbury the 31-30 lead with 1:53 remaining.
That almost proved to be too much time, as Methuen marched into Tewksbury territory in the closing seconds. But as time expired, Sheehan fell short on a 50-yard field goal attempt and the Redmen escaped with the win.
Check out our coverage on Facebook of @methuensports vs @TMHS_Athletics https://t.co/sJiQl3TOxT Great game. Thanks for welcoming us to the #MerrimackValley folks. @JamiePote #miaafb @boston25 @Bos25Sports— Butch Stearns (@ButchStearns) September 15, 2018
32-yard FG is good. Tewksbury up 31-30 with 1:53 left pic.twitter.com/Z7Yksmu7Nl— Kyle Gaudette (@KGaud123) September 15, 2018