Before they carved their Thanksgiving turkeys, members of the Tewksbury football sliced up rival Wilmington on the gridiron.
The Redmen dominated play throughout on Thursday, giving the home crowd at Alumni Stadium very little to be thankful for as they watched the Redmen cruise to an 18-6 victory.
“We made a couple mistakes that hurt us, but we kept fighting,” said Wilmington head coach Mike Barry. “But after the sting of this washes away, these guys should be able to hold their heads up high and know they gave it all they had.”
The visitors cracked the scoreboard after a lengthy drive midway through the opening quarter, taking a 6-0 edge on a five-yard touchdown run from running back Eddie Matovu.
After a Wildcat fumble provided Tewksbury another offensive possession, the Redmen took advantage. With four seconds to play in the first quarter, quarterback Johnny Aylward plowed 40 yards to the end zone to extend the lead to 12-0.
Wilmington’s defense buckled down for much of the remaining minutes, but the team’s offense struggled for most of the game. With the Wildcats driving in hopes of slicing the lead in half late in the second quarter, Tewksbury notched an interception in the red zone and recaptured momentum going into the half.
The Wildcats finally cracked the scoreboard in the fourth quarter though that, like much of the game, didn't go as planned.
Quarterback James O’Regan found a wide open Tim Woods over the middle and Woods scampered for a 70-yard touchdown with 7:01 to go in the game. But Woods was called for taunting at the five yard line for turning and gesturing to the chasing defender, and the score was taken off the board.
After the ball was moved back to the 20-yard line, Wilmington eventually was able to get back into the end zone. O’Regan found Sam Borsetti in the right corner of the end zone with 6:09 to go in the fourth quarter, making the score 18-6.
But that was all the Wildcats had left in the tank, falling again on Thanksgiving Day.
“It’s a strong tradition on both sides. It’s not cliché to say you throw the records out before this game,” said Aylward. “The kids understand that this is their one chance to come out in front of a crowd like this. For them to come out with Tekwbsury on their jersey and represent their town, they take that seriously. And they need to, because Wilmington does too.”