Swampscott-Marblehead rivalry is a family affair

Marblehead's Declan Rudloff (right) plays for his father, Magicians head coach Jim Rudloff. (Item Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

SWAMPSCOTT — It was more than just a football game when Swampscott and Marblehead got together for the 109th time Thanksgiving morning at Blocksidge Field.

For the Magicians, a 30-14 victory made everything taste better at holiday dinner, while the Big Blue will have to wait another year to figure out how to get coach Bobby Serino his first Thanksgiving win against the Magicians.

In addition to a heated rivalry between the two towns, there are football families on both sidelines, and for the 25 seniors (19 for the Magicians and six for the Big Blue) it was the last game of their high school careers.

Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff guides the team, with his son, Declan, a junior, playing on both sides of the ball, and also seeing action as the long-snapper.

“He’s been following me around football fields for years, he was there when I was in Beverly and now he’s here in Marblehead doing a great job on offense and on defense,” Rudloff said. “I’m not just saying it because he’s my son, but he has a very high football I.Q., he gives it his all every time he steps on the field, and I wouldn’t mind having 68 guys like him playing for me.

“Football is kind of in his blood, he’s been around the game for so long,” Rudloff added. “He’s one of the youngest players on our team. He’s 16 years old, and to get a young kid to compete the way he has against 17 and 18 year-olds, just shows how much work he has put in to be a solid player.”

Declan Rudloff followed his older brother, Christian, suiting up for his father, and he loves every minute playing for his dad.  

“It’s really awesome. He has taught me so much over the years and my brother helped me a lot too, so I’m thankful for their help,” Declan Rudloff said. “We don’t really bring the game home with us. Sometimes we do, but it’s usually at the high school when we talk about football. I always take the opportunity to ask him football questions whenever I can. I have to say that it’s been great playing for him.

“I’ve loved football since I even knew it was a sport. My whole life I guess. And now to be able to play for my father is really great,” Declan said.

On the Big Blue sideline, head coach Bobby Serino is assisted by his son Robert, who is in charge of the receivers. The younger Serino played when his dad was an assistant under Steve Dembowski, and was on the team that upset the Magicians in 2012 — the last time the Blue won on Thanksgiving.

“I started coaching during Dembo’s (Steve Dembowski) last year, and joined my dad after that. He coaches the O-line, and I have the receivers, so he pretty much lets me do my thing,” Robert Serino said. “We don’t bring the games and practices home, but we go at it on the field for sure. We butt heads sometimes, but I have to say it’s awesome to coach with my dad. While it is great to coach with my dad, sometimes we step on each others toes, (and) sometimes we butt heads. But it doesn’t come home with us.”

“I think he’s done a great job with the receivers,” Bobby Serino said. “Certainly you can’t argue with the results we’ve had catching the ball. I am so proud of him, the most important thing he’s taught the guys is how to block downfield, creating opportunities for YAC (yards after catch). Anybody can catch and throw, but he’s taught these kids to make a short gain into a big gain.

“My coaches are the best in the Northeastern Conference,” he said. “I demand excellence from all my coaches, and Robert has always brought his best to our staff.”

Swampscott finished the season at 9-3, while the Magicians ended the year at 9-2.

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