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Just Super: Tewksbury High Still Soaring on the Gridiron

November 29, 2018

Tewksbury High football coach Brian Aylward gets a hug from his son, Johnny, in the waning moments of a 42-14 victory over Plymouth South in the Division 3 state title game in 2013. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

Only two other area high schools -- Acton-Boxboro and Chelmsford -- have played in more Super Bowl games than Tewksbury.

Tewksbury’s clash with Springfield Central will be its eighth Super Bowl game, as the Redmen trail Acton-Boxboro (10) and Chelmsford (9), and tie Greater Lowell Tech.

But the most impressive part of the Redmen’s gridiron greatness is how spread out their Super Bowl appearances have been.

When a class or two is loaded with talent, it’s easier to contend for championships in multiple seasons.

But Tewksbury has been an Eastern Mass. power over the long haul.

The Redmen first made a Super Bowl appearance in 1981. Except for back-to-back showings in 1995 and 1996, Tewksbury’s Super Bowl teams have been remarkably spread out: 1981, 1985, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2011, 2013 and 2018.

Brian Aylward, long considered one of the Merrimack Valley’s top coaches, deserves tons of credit for Tewksbury’s long-term success.

When Tewksbury takes on Springfield Central for the Division 3 state championship Saturday (6 p.m.) at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, expect the Redmen to be well prepared.

Also, don’t be surprised if Tewksbury is vying for another Super Bowl title in the next couple of seasons.

That’s the Tewksbury way.

Team player?

Call me old fashioned. Call me a relic.

Don’t care. The speculation that University of Michigan defensive tackle Rashan Gary might not play a bowl game with his teammates because he doesn’t want to hurt his NFL draft stock by getting injured makes me barf.

Gary, projected to go as high as fifth in the NFL draft, is a major reason the Wolverines are 10-2.

Guys skipping bowl games is a recent development. Gary spent countless hours preparing for the 2018 season with his teammates.

Lifting weights. Studying film. Then the season started, and Michigan’s players have continued to bond through tough practices and 12 games.

And now Gary might stay away when Michigan plays its biggest game of the season?

If I’m running an NFL team, I knock Gary down a notch or two on my draft board. What happens the season before he becomes a free agent? Will he only play at 70 percent speed because he doesn’t want to get hurt and hurt his free-agent status?

UML recruits

Two UMass Lowell hockey recruits -- Sweden natives Carl Berglund and Andre Lee -- are listed with ‘C’ ratings by NHL Central Scouting, meaning they could be drafted in the fourth, fifth or sixth round next June. Both are forwards.

Another incoming forward, Matt Brown, continues his tear with Des Moines in the United States Hockey League. Brown is tied for the USHL lead in goals (15) and leads with four shorthanded goals. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound native of Woodridge, N.J., is fourth in overall scoring with 25 points through 20 games.

Brown has been named to the U.S. Junior Select team that will compete at the World Junior A Challenge, Dec. 9-16 in Alberta.

Here and there

Boston Children’s Hospital raised $4.1 million Tuesday night during its annual Champions for Children’s dinner in Boston.

Bruins star David Pastrnak received the Champion Award and was supported by his teammates, including former Champion Award recipients Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara. Pastrnak entered Tuesday tied for the NHL lead with 19 goals and has a flair off the ice as well, as evidenced by his colorful suit jacket.

Also spotted in the crowd were Patriots stars D’onta Hightower and Matthew Slater. ... Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill is adding three new varsity teams in 2019. The school is bringing back its men’s soccer and women’s basketball programs, and adding a new eSports program.

Follow Barry Scanlon on Twitter@BarryScanlonSun

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