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Wilson, Defense Lead Tewksbury Past Duxbury, 29-21, And Into D3 State Championship Game (Photo Gallery)

Nov 19, 2018 01:49PM ● By Bill Gilman

(Matthew Geist photo)

 LOWELL -- The multiple weapons in the high-octane offense of the Tewksbury High football team tend to grab most of the team's headlines. But defense wins championships and the Redmen D has peaked at just the right time.
On Saturday, Colby Wilson intercepted a pair of passes, including one at the goal line with less than two minutes to play, to lift Tewksbury past Duxbury, 29-21, in a Division 3 State Semifinal, at Cawley Stadium.
With the win, Tewksbury (10-1) advances to its first State Championship game since 2013. The Redmen will face Springfield Central (56-20 winner over St. John's of Shrewsbury) for the D3 title, Saturday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
Duxbury senior quarterback John Roberts came into the game with 16 touchdown passes and just two interceptions on the season. But he struggled mightily in the first half against an inspired Tewksbury defense. The Redmen front seven put heavy pressure on Roberts (14-of-28, 160 yards, 3 TD, 2 Int), with Trace Trant recording a pair of sacks to lead the way. Connor Nugent also had a huge game, including a fumble recovery that led to a Redmen touchdown.
Tewksbury Quarterback Jay Connolly had his typically strong game, completing 8 of 14 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Zervas rushed for 70 yards on just six carries and Shane Aylward had five catches for 63 yards.
Wilson's first interception of the game came in the first quarter and set up Tewksbury's first score. Jack Kelly capped the 50-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run. Aylward ran in the two-point conversion and the Redmen were up 8-0.
The lead increased to 15-0 in the second quarter on a one-yard run by Connolly and a PAT from Kyle Keough.
Duxbury (10-1) was finally able to get their offense in gear near the end of the first half and got on the board with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Roberts to Will Prouty. The two-point try failed and Tewksbury held a 15-6 lead at halftime.
The Redmen put some distance between themselves and the Green Dragons with a highlight-reel 41-yard touchdown run by Zervas. But Duxbury refused to go away. Roberts connected with Jack Jacobson on a 32-yard TD pass, then ran in the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 22-14 after three quarters.
Connolly struck back for the Redmen, early in the fourth quarter, on a 22-yard touchdown pass to Josh Sughrue to extend the lead to a seemingly comfortable 29-14. Once again, however, Roberts put his team on his back and connected with Louis Alligaier on a 14-yard scoring strike to pull the Dragons to within 29-21.
Duxbury's defense was able to force a punt, giving the Dragons one final chance, starting at their own 27. Roberts moved his team smartly down the field, all the way to the Tewksbury 11-yard line with just over two minutes to play. On second down, Roberts looked to Jacobson in the end zone, but Wilson jumped the route, cradled the interception and sealed the win.
Notes:
  • It was the first time Tewksbury had played Duxbury since the 2011 Division 2A State Championship game, won by Duxbury, 35-0.
  • Tewksbury will be vying for its fist State Title since beating Plymouth South to cap a 13-0 season in 2013.
  • First things first. Before Tewksbury tangles with Springfield Central, the Redmen will travel to Wilmington Thanksgiving morning at 10 a.m. for their annual tussle with the Wildcats.

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