MARBLEHEAD — Tim Cronin thought he was going to be a receiver this season. That’s where he was playing all during preseason camp.
But earlier this week, Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff switched him back to running back, where he played in 2017. One 55-0 win over Triton later, it would be difficult to imagine Cronin playing anywhere else.
Cronin slithered his way to 167 yards in only three quarters of action Friday night at Christopher Piper Field as the Magicians scored an emphatic victory over the Vikings.
“We’re obviously happy with the way our kids played,” said Rudloff. “But it could have been better. We had three or four touchdowns called back on penalties, and I’m sure we committed those. We have some of the best high school referees in the state doing our games.”
Cronin added to his running totals by scoring four touchdowns, including the game’s first score, on a 3-yard run that capped off a 7-play, 60-yard drive.
“Tim was playing slot receiver during the first two weeks of camp,” Rudloff said. “I wanted to mix some kids around.
“But just this week we moved him back to running back,” Rudloff said. “You know, he’s not going to dazzle you. But he runs hard, and he reads blocks well. This isn’t youth football, where you just get the ball and run. You have to read plays, and Tim does that very well.”
After Cronin put Marblehead up 7-0, there was a stage in the second quarter where the Magicians found the end zone three times — once on an electrifying interception return by Mark Paquette — only have them negated every time by penalties. It didn’t really hurt them as they eventually scored both times, on 11- and 29-yard runs by Cronin. As happy as he was about the results, Rudloff was equally unhappy
“You can’t have that,” said Rudloff. “In a close game, that’s going to be a problem. We were fortunate tonight that it wasn’t a close game.”
The Marblehead offense remained relentless in the first half, scoring on every possession. Meanwhile, after getting a first down on the game’s first possession, the Vikings went three-and-out for the rest of the half.
With 2:22 left in the second quarter, quarterback Chris Gally (5-5, 40 yards, 2 passing touchdowns and 1 running) connected with Sean McCarthy on a 3-yard pass to make it 27-0 (the Magicians missed an extra point), and then came back with a 21-yard rushing TD with 54 seconds left in the half to give the Magicians a 34-0 lead at the break.
It was more of the same in the second half, even though the game was played in running time. McCarthy caught his second TD pass from Gally as the Magicians took a 41-0 lead, and then Cronin scored from nine yards out to make it 48-0.
Backup running back Derek Testa scored Marblehead’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Magicians visit Revere next Friday (7).