HAVERHILL – It had been a decade since Tewksbury and Haverhill tangled on the gridiron and Friday night at Trinity Stadium one team certainly made up for lost time.
Displaying complete mastery of all facets of the game, Tewksbury exploded for 28 points in the first quarter and never looked back on its way to a dominating 42-12 win. Tewksbury (2-0) simply overwhelmed the Hillies all over the field, especially up front.
“If you can get it done at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, your chances of making good things happen go up,” said Tewksbury coach Brian Aylward after the impressive win. “I’m just proud of the way the guys supported each other and we’ve got a group of guys that work hard.”
Senior backs Hunter Johnson and Tyler Barnes both rushed for a pair of scores, while fellow back Manny Mengatta got a lot of tough yards up the middle behind the surging Tewksbury offensive line. It’s a three-headed monster of speed, power and finesse that Aylward is happy to have.
“When you have enough (backs) that it’s just not the one guy then everyone is hungry for the ball,” Aylward said. “When they get the ball they don’t know when they are going to get it again, so they know that they have to run hard and block when they are not getting the ball.”
With Hurricane Lee building off the coast, the Hillies had no answers for the red and white deluge that engulfed them from the opening minutes. Barnes blew up a punt attempt in the opening minutes and four plays later Johnson rode a massive push from his offensive line into the end zone. The storm continued for Haverhill just three plays later from an unrelenting Redmen pass rush that gave Haverhill QB James Farell zero time all evening long as Joe Barletta forced a strip sack that set Tewksbury up at the Hillies’ 34.
One play later, Tewksbury QB Vinny Ciancio lofted a perfectly thrown ball to Cam Kearney for a 34-yard strike with over seven minutes still to play.
Jonny Sullivan’s interception would set up the third Tewksbury score of the quarter – a 30-yard sweep by the speedy Johnson – and Kearney put an exclamation point on the first quarter onslaught when he streaked 75 yards down the sideline for the fourth and final score.
The second quarter was not much better for the hosts, who were outgained 272–57 in the opening half. Barnes added a pair of TD runs of 7 and 44 yards, respectively. The second score came when the bruising senior emerged from a scrum of would-be tacklers and scampered 44 yards up the gut to give the visitors a very comfortable 42-0 advantage heading into the half.
Given the unrelenting assault in the first 25 minutes, it would have been very easy for the host to have called it a night at the half, but to their credit the Hillies (1-1) gave the home crowd something to cheer about with a pair of fourth-quarter scores.
With nine minutes to go Jhonaton Wallis got the Hillies on the board with a great second effort at the goal line. In the final minute of play, backup QB Alexander Gomes hit Marc Gagne with a pretty pass from 34 yards out to close out the scoring.