NORTH ANDOVER — By your standard metric, the 5-foot-6, 160-pound Kyle Darrigo is not your average bell-cow back. That’s fine, as the Tewksbury senior is actually much better than that.
Behind a sterling performance from Darrigo on both sides of the ball, combined with some efficient play by the whole lineup, Tewksbury controlled the action in a 41-14 win over North Andover on Friday.
Tewksbury improved to 4-0 with the win, which clinched the Merrimack Valley Conference Small Division title. North Andover drops to 1-3 with the defeat.
“He’s tough as nails, pound for pound,” Tewksbury coach Brian Aylward said.
For the game, Darrigo rushed for 218 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries. He also made an interception on defense.
It did not take him long to get going, as North Andover shanked a punt after going three-and-out and Tewksbury took over at the North Andover 10-yard line. Two Darrigo runs later, the second a 7-yarder, and Tewksbury was in the end zone for a quick 7-0 advantage.
The Tewksbury defense turned the ball over on downs near midfield, and Darrigo caught a 20-yard pass from Ryne Rametta to help set up his 2-yard touchdown that staked his team to a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Darrigo then intercepted a pass and followed with a 43-yard run deep into North Andover territory. Kalu Olu cashed it in from there on a 5-yard touchdown run as Tewksbury built a 21-0 lead.
From there, the rout that seemed to be playing out did not come to fruition. North Andover quarterback Will Schimmoeller threw two touchdown passes to Max Wolfgang and Jack Ferullo — of 14 and 31 yards, respectively — at the end of the half to pull the Scarlet Knights to within 21-14 at the break.
“It’s about the fighting side in me,” Darrigo said. “I can go against a guy that is 6-3, all over my head, go right over him, try to go around him. We had good blocking up front. The team really clicked today.”
But Tewksbury took over in the second half. Darrigo carried it eight consecutive times, the last an 11-yard touchdown, to help boost the lead to 28-14. He followed with his longest run of the night, a 54-yard touchdown. Rametta added a 14-yard touchdown pass to Will McKay in the fourth quarter.