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Sports

Tewksbury 41, Methuen 14

James Sullivan leads Tewksbury over Methuen

TEWKSBURY — When Methuen wasn’t getting in its own way, Tewksbury’s James Sullivan was.

The junior defensive back had three interceptions and added 11 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown on offense to lead the No. 14 Redmen (5-0) to a lopsided 41-14 win Saturday.

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“Sully did great,” said Tewksbury coach Brian Aylward. “He’s one of those guys that you see growing up as a kid and you think he has the potential to be very good if he has the right kind of work ethic and the right kind of character. He’s got all of that.”

Tewksbury held the Rangers (4-2) to 34 total yards in the first half, though Methuen did a good job of hurting itself with 78 yards of penalties.

Meanwhile, the Redmen needed time to find their footing on offense, and did so late in the second quarter with two quick scores.

After Sullivan ran in a 4-yard touchdown with 2:09 left in the half, Tewksbury forced a Ranger three-and-out and took over with 1:11 to go.

Senior quarterback Johnny Aylward led the Redmen 50 yards in 26 seconds, capping the drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end John Saunders.

The Rangers came out rejuvenated in the third quarter, scoring a touchdown on each of their first two drives — a total of 155 yards. Austin George-Williams’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Evan Lacroix made it 28-14.

But before the third quarter finished, Sullivan crushed any momentum Methuen had with his second interception. On the next play, Tom Casey ran in a 15-yard touchdown for a commanding 21-point lead.

“I think all year long, they’ve been good, in particular off sudden change-type situations when we had to get one back quick,” coach Aylward said about his defense. “I know that there’s an opportunity for a team to really jump on momentum off of a turnover and try to go big, and we played great in a couple of those situations.”

On the Rangers’ next possession, Sullivan brought in his final interception in the end zone to all but wrap up the game at the start of the fourth quarter.

“Just make a play on it,” Sullivan said of his mind-set. “That’s what we preach all the time, that’s what we’ve been preaching all week and I just trusted my reads and everything worked out.”

Johnny Aylward took advantage of the strong play of his offensive line, passing 10 of 14 for 104 yards and adding 39 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Coach Aylward lauded the play of his offensive line, led by 5-foot-7-inch, 165-pound center John Devito.

“It’s kind of the nature of being an offensive lineman,” Aylward said. “What kid grows up when they’re five or six years old and says ‘I can’t wait to play offensive tackle.’ It just doesn’t happen. [But] they played great.”

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