Sullivan, Tewksbury fend off Billerica – Lowell Sun
TEWKSBURY — Throughout the entire night, the Tewksbury defense came up with big play after big play, so it wasn’t so much of a surprise when it happened again in the final minute of Friday night’s thriller against Billerica.
Trailing by two points, Billerica had one final chance from its own 40. On first down, quarterback JT Greene tossed a pass over the middle and Tewksbury junior Michael Sullivan intercepted it at the Redmen 40, returned it to the Indians 10 before teammate Danny Fleming took a knee to close it out, with the Redmen prevailing 12-10 in a battle of two of the top teams in the Merrimack Valley Conference small school division.
The pick to seal the game was Sullivan’s second interception of the night and fourth in the past two games.
“A couple of plays before, I got beat on the post for a touchdown and I wanted to redeem myself. I saw that he was running post and I got in front of him and just caught it,” said Sullivan.
Tewksbury improves to 4-1, now riding a four-game winning streak, after dropping its opener to Danvers. The Indians (4-1), who came into the game averaging 45 points a game, were held to 38 total yards of offense through the first three quarters.
Tewksbury’s defensive line of Davenche Sydney, Nick Wilson, Aaron Connolly, Luke Shaw and Blake Ryder were sensational throughout all four quarters coming through with a number of big third and fourth down stops, as well as combining for four QB sacks.
“(Billerica) can hurt you in a lot of different ways and where we needed guys to do a little extra, we got that from the guys up front,” said Redmen head coach Brian Aylward. “Everybody had a role to do, so we have to give credit to our staff for putting that together. With the offense that they have, the best thing that we could do was get some first downs and keep their offense off the field and we did that.”
Fleming (135 rushing yards) scored both touchdowns, including the game winner on a 1-yard sneak to make it 12-3 with 6:26 left. That score was set up by his 31-yard completion to Justin Darrigo.
“Fleming had another huge game. He is just such a tremendous fighter and he gives it everything that he’s got on every single play. His stamina is incredible,” said Aylward.
Billerica then answered with a seven-play, 65-yard drive, which included four pass plays from Greene, including a flea-flicker to Jacob Metivier from 31 yards out for the score. The kick by Shaan Rana was good to cut the deficit to two.
In the first half, Billerica took a 3-0 lead on a short field goal by Rana, coming with 8:29 left in the second quarter. Tewksbury responded with an 11-play, 79-yard drive, capped off by a beautiful 17-yard TD run by Fleming, who went left before cutting inside for the score. Billerica’s Dominic Gird blocked the PAT, and the Redmen led 6-3 with 62 seconds left in the half.
Tewksbury’s ensuing punt went out of bounds to give Billerica the ball on its 43. After getting a first down, moving the ball to the Redmen 45, Green threw a deep pass down the left side and Sullivan came up with the interception.