MARBLEHEAD– With Friday night’s game between the Marblehead and English football teams at Piper Field tied at 7-7, opportunities knocked twice for the visiting Bulldogs. English didn’t take advantage of the opportunities and it came back to haunt the Bulldogs as a tied game turned into a 31-7 rout in favor of the Magicians.
Marblehead’s Tim Cronin gave the Magicians the lead on the first of his four rushing touchdowns, followed by Mason Poisson’s PAT kick. English running back Ishmile Bangura put his Bulldogs on the scoreboard and Tyler Drinan tied the game at 7-7 with his PAT.
Drinan’s ensuing kickoff bounced off a Marblehead lineman and English pounced on the ball on its own 45-yard line. The Marblehead defense stopped the Bulldogs cold, but its offense gave the ball right back, on an interception two plays later by Tahj Purter at the Magician 45-yard line. Once again, a stiff Marblehead defense held, and two golden opportunities were out the window for the visitors.
Marblehead scored the next 24 points of the game, three more rushing touchdowns by Cronin, with Poisson going 3-for-3 on PAT kicks. Cronin added a field goal in the closing seconds of the second quarter.
With heavy winds and rain coming down at Piper Field, the weather conditions made it difficult for both quarterbacks to throw the ball. Marblehead attempted no passes in the second half, with English throwing just twice, both falling incomplete. Marblehead’s defense made it a tough night for Bulldogs senior quarterback Matt Severance, especially in the second half. Severance was sacked four times in the second half, with Devin Romain and Declan Rudloff leading Marblehead’s havoc in the backfield.
For Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff, it was good to see his Magicians get back on the winning track after two consecutive losses (to Dracut and Classical). Rudloff felt the Magicians didn’t play “Marblehead football” in those two defeats.
“The conditions were lousy but they were lousy for both teams,” Rudloff said. “Our guys did a good job on defense, even though we made a few mistakes to put it on our defense. The most important thing for us is we bounced back. We played so bad the last two games, especially in the second half last week. We were terrible but we bounced back tonight.
“It felt like we quit last week. You hate to say that but that’s what it felt like last week. We didn’t do a good job playing, we didn’t do a good job coaching last week, so it was good to win tonight,” Rudloff added.
The Magicians improved to 7-3 on the season with the victory. They’ll shift gears toward preparing for their Thanksgiving clash against rival Swampscott.
English dropped to 7-3 with the loss. Bulldogs coach Chris Carroll said his team will have to dig deep and find out what its made of as it prepares for its Thanksgiving battle against rival Classical.
“Credit to Marblehead, they played well, we didn’t play well, they beat us up tonight,” Carroll said. “We’ve got a lot of things to find out about ourselves before Thanksgiving. That’s the focus for us now, unfortunately we’re down now, and we’ve got to figure it all out before Thanksgiving.”