FOXBOROUGH — Tewksbury coach Brian Aylward stood in the same spot two years ago following an appearance in the Super Bowl, but on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Aylward watched as Duxbury celebrated on the podium, a 35-0 blowout of the Redmen in the Division 2 Super Bowl in its grasp. That loss still eats at Aylward and remains hard to put into words.
On Saturday, it was only jubilation for Aylward and Tewksbury.
Tewksbury outscored Plymouth South, 28-0, in the second half, including three touchdowns in the final 3:11 in a 42-14 victory in the Division 3 Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium.
“I took that personally,” Aylward said of the 2011 loss. “I think every one of those kids took that personally.
“We almost got laughed out of here and that was the rallying cry: We’re not going to get laughed out of here today.”
Tewksbury did more than that, as it hoisted the state championship trophy to mark its perfect season at 13-0.
“We’re a totally different team [now],” senior Johnny Aylward said. “We just tried to put the 35-0 loss behind us, but that was something that still stung for those of us that played. It just felt great to be back [at Gillette].”
Junior James Sullivan rushed for 125 yards and three touchdowns, and returned an interception for a fourth score to lead the Redmen.
Tewksbury led, 21-14, with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, facing a fourth and 7 from the Panther 30-yard line. Aylward lobbed a pass down the right sideline for senior Kevin Dick, who came back on the underthrown ball, went up, and wrestled it out of the defender’s hands for a 20-yard gain to extend the drive, holding off any potential for a Plymouth South (9-3) game-tying drive.
“A couple times we said, ‘To heck with it. We’re just going to give [Dick] a shot,’” Brian Aylward said. “Get it up there and let the kid go up and make a play.’”
“It was a little underthrown, he got some nice air under it,” Dick said, “so I was like, ‘I’m going to have a good chance to catch this ball.’ ”
Two plays later, Sullivan’s 10-yard touchdown run pushed the lead to two possessions.
Plymouth South senior running back Dylan Oxsen rushed 27 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
It was a 14-14 game late in the third until the Redmen marched inside the Panther 5.
That’s when Sullivan turned in the run of the day. He took a handoff from Aylward going left, brushed off a would-be tackler, then changed direction and headed for the right pylon and got for what amounted to a 4-yard go-ahead score with 2:13 left in the third.
“He’s just a great player,” Johnny Aylward said of Sullivan. “He can get it done no matter what he’s doing or what the situation.”
Sullivan’s touchdown was set up by a critical Plymouth South miscue.
The Panthers appeared to have something going on the opening possession of the second half, marching all the way down to the Redmen 26. But on fourth and 1, sophomore quarterback Andrew Shortall mishandled the snap and couldn’t salvage the first down on his own to force a turnover on downs.
Plymouth South trailed by eight late in the second until Oxsen broke outside for a 6-yard touchdown run with 15 seconds left in the half. Senior Anthony Schena ran in the 2-point conversion to knot it up going into the break.