Craig and Millett also were able to get pressure on Redmen quarterback Johnny Aylward whenever he dropped back in the pocket. The Magician secondary — led by Dylan Cressy (an interception and three tackles for a loss), Dean Fader (five tackles, one for a loss) and Jeremy Gillis (six tackles) — were able to keep the dangerous Tewksbury receiving threats in front of them.
Cressy, in particular, has been the Magicians’ defensive linchpin all season and didn’t disappoint on Saturday.
“Dylan Cressy, I wouldn’t hesitate to call him our MVP; there’s nothing he can’t do,” said Rudloff. “He had the body of a 90-year old man. The Lord invented him to be 135 pounds and play badminton. The things he’s done with his body just to get on the field, he and kids like him have been giants for us. Those kinds of kids have made this the unexpected season that we had and I’m extremely proud of the kids for that reason”
And then there was senior captain Liam Gillis patrolling between the tackles at inside linebacker. Gillis had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery on the day and was a major factor in keeping the Redmen to just two or three yards on first down runs up the middle.
Defensive linemen Thomas Koopman (seven tackles), Bryan Graf (tackle for a loss) and Tommy Gabel (three tackles) fought hard against a massive Tewksbury offensive line.
The Gillis brothers, meanwhile, helped set the tone — something they’ve done for Rudloff all season. Liam Gillis has been a main fixture at inside backer for the past two seasons, while his brother Jeremy moved to safety midway through the season and has flourished ever since.
“They’ve given us immense leadership,” explained Rudloff. You come back to coach those kind of guys. They’re the type of kids you want dating your daughter.”