FOXBOROUGH — Junior running back James Sullivan says he can still remember the feeling he had when Tewksbury lost to Duxbury, 35-0, in the MIAA Division 2 Super Bowl in 2011.
And for him, and the rest of his team, it was time to finally capture that state title.
“Ever since that game against Duxbury, it’s been in the back of all our heads,” Sullivan said. “Then the next season, we came out and lost in the playoffs again. [The losses have] been driving us as a team. It pretty much served as our motivation all year long.”
Sullivan led the way with 125 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries in Tewksbury’s resounding, 42-14, victory over Plymouth South Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
Sullivan also intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown with less than two minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
When asked about his performance, Sullivan was adamant in expressing gratitude for the offensive line’s hard work all season.
“Those guys come out and do it every single week,” he said. “I love every single one of them. They’re just big, tough, hard-nosed kids who work so hard. I really can’t say enough about them.”
Sullivan’s first touchdown came in the second quarter, on 5-yard scamper. After going into the half tied with Plymouth South, 14-14, coach Brian Aylward pulled him aside for some words of wisdom.
“You’re fortunate that you get another chance at this,” Aylward told Sullivan.
“These senior guys that you love like brothers don’t [get another chance], and they need it from you. Spill your guts out here like this is your last game.”
And boy, did Sullivan respond.
Sullivan scored three more times, a 4-yard run in the third quarter, then a 10-yard run in the fourth. That TD gave Tewksbury a commanding 35-14 lead, and he added a pick-six for the final tally.
“I saw the receiver come to the flat and quarterback looking over,” Sullivan said of his interception. “So I tried to jump it and end the game, and it ended up working out.”
Sullivan finished with 21 regular-season touchdowns. Again, when asked about his ability to find the end zone, he directed the praise to his teammates.
“It’s never a one-man show with our team,” Sullivan said. “For one person to have success, everyone around him needs to have success.”