Thursday, November 29, 2018

Division 3 Super Bowl Preview: Central Looks To Become First West Winner, Battles Tested Tewskbury

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Throughout the week, SuiteSports will be previewing all eight Super Bowls scheduled to take place across Friday and Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

We'll take a look at each team's road to the Super Bowl, its key players, and provide a breakdown of what makes each team so successful. Lastly, we'll give our three keys to the game that we think will likely dictate who will ultimately emerge victorious.

On Monday night, we started by looking at the Division 2 Super Bowl between North Andover and King Philip. Then yesterday, we continued by breaking down the Division 5 Super Bowl between Nipmic and Scituate and the Division 4 Super Bowl that pits Dighton-Rehobtoh against Nashoba.

Now, we are set to unveil our Division 3 Super Bowl preview that features Tewksbury and Springfield Central.

The Matchup: Springfield Central vs. Tewksbury 

Springfield Central

Road to Gillette: Chicopee Comp (49-7), Westfield (22-0), St. John's Shrewsbury (52-20)

Super Bowl Victories: 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2012 

Points Per Game: 50.4

Points Allowed Per Game: 7.4

Key Players: Isaac Boston, Jr., QB; Kwame Kyles, Jr., RB; Myles Bradley, Sr., WR; Keshaun Dancy, Sr., DB; Terry Lockett, So, DE/MLB


Road to Gillette: Billerica (35-6), Beverly (21-14), Danvers (28-21), Duxbury (29-21)

Super Bowl Victories: 1985, 1996, 2013

Points Per Game: 19.8

Points Allowed Per Game: 12.6

Key Players: Jay Connolly, Sr., QB; Jack Kelly, Sr., RB/LB; Trace Trant, Sr., MLB; Shane Aylward, Jr., ATH; Kyle Zervas, Sr., RB; 

Preview: The Division 3 Super Bowl features two who have faced very different paths to Gillette Stadium.

For most of the season, Springfield Central has been in cruise control. The Golden Eagles have won 10 consecutive games, posting over 50 points per game on average while allowing barely a touchdown. Central's combination of speed, athleticism, and physicality has made them an impossible matchup for any opponent so far this season. They have outscored their postseason foes by a combined score of 127-27, including a 52-20 thrashing of defending Div. 3 Super Bowl champion St. John's.

Leading Central offensively is junior running back Kwame Kyles. Kyles has 1,054 rushing yards and 19 scores. Dual threat junior quarterback Isaac Boston has a bevy of options to choose from highlighted by Myles Bradley. Defensively, the Golden Eagles have been equally as impressive with Keshaun Dancy and Elijah Ayers manning the secondary.

Tewksbury has had a bruising road to its first Super Bowl since 2013. The Redmen survived a daunting regular season schedule that included the likes of BC High, North Andover, and Dracut before going through Beverly, Danvers, and Duxbury to get to Gillette Stadium.

Throughout, the Redmen have played solid defensively able to adept well to its opponent's scheme. Jack Kelly and Trace Trant are standouts at linebacker, with Shane Aylward and Colby Wilson playmakers in the secondary.

Offensively, Jay Connolly is a three year starter at quarterback. The senior has thrown for 3,916 yards and has 55 touchdowns to his name. Running back Kyle Zervas has been a steady presence out of the backfield with Jack Kelly complementing him as more of a power back. Aylward set the program record this year for most receptions in a single season and is also a threat as a runner.

Keys To The Game

1. In the 20s or 30s?

Tewksbury has been phenomenal at keeping opposing offenses contained this postseason, not allowing more than 21 points in its four games.

While the Redmen defense has not been shut down, its done its part to give its own offense a chance to keep pace. The unit will be facing a totally different beast on Saturday and it will be imperative once again that it keeps Springfield Central in the twnties.

If the Golden Eagles are able to get out and run, generating big plays off short screen passes and bursts by Kwame Kyles it will be nearly impossible for Tewksbury to keep up. Tewksbury has to keep Springfield Central below 30 to give Jay Connolly and company a chance to pull off a Super Bowl victory.

2. Containing Shane Aylward

On the flip side, Springfield Central will have to contain one of the top all around players in Division 3 this year in Shane Aylward. Aylward is electric with the ball in his hands, possessing an ability to score out of the backfield, as a wide receiver, and on special teams.

Connolly's favorite target, Aylward should be heavily blanketed by the Central defense. If the Redmen find a way to consistently get Aylward the ball, he could create enough havoc to keep the Redmen in contention.

For Springfield Central to emerge with a victory they will need to key in on the young play maker early on and prevent him from getting in any sort of rhythm.

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