MARBLEHEAD — Coach Jim Rudloff and the Marblehead football team know what’s on the line Friday night (7) when the Magicians welcome Northeastern Conference rival Revere to Piper Field. In a battle between unbeaten teams, the Magicians will test themselves with a deep Patriots roster.
“I think they’re the most complete team in the league this year and that’s on both sides of the league,” Rudloff said. “We have everyone on film now and without a doubt Revere has someone at every position that’s as good as anyone on any other team. They really don’t have any holes on their team.”
The Magicians’ defense is tasked with limiting a Revere offense that has multiple weapons.
It starts with running back Joe Llanos, who has carried Revere to the tune of 783 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.
“(Llanos) is explosive,” Rudloff said. “He does such a great job. The big play that features Joe is a funnel-blast play. What he does well on that play is being patient enough for the block to create a seam. He’s able to exploit that so well. He has a second and third gear on the outside. He just does a terrific job and he’s their most dangerous weapon.”
Quarterback Calvin Boudreau, who missed the majority of last season with an injury, is back under center. Rudloff recalls coming away impressed with Boudreau in 2017 when the quarterback was a freshman.
“They have probably the top quarterback we’ve played this year and I remember saying that to (Revere) coach Lou Cicatelli three years ago,” Rudloff said. “They brought him in toward the end of the game. Boudreau was about 5-feet-7 and 130 pounds. I remember he did everything mechanically right as a freshman. He wasn’t afraid I knew he’d be good. He looks great on film.”
Defensively, it’s been a learning process for the Magicians. The unit is led by linebacker Tim Cronin. Defensive backs Will Twadell and Sean McCarthy lead the secondary, while linemen Brendan Rowe, Declan Rudloff and Devin Romain drive the battle in the trenches.
“We have a long way to go,” Rudloff said. “There are little things we need to clean up. We have a lot of first-year starters and those kids have grown. We’re not there yet. Mentally the kids are playing a lot better but we still make a lot of physical mistakes. That shows up because in every game we’ve allowed a big touchdown and it’s always bad angling and bad tackling.”
Offensively, it’s Cronin who leads the way with 607 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. The senior running back is complemented by quarterbacks Miles Smith and Joshua Robertson, and receivers Twadell and Ryan Freiberger. McCarthy also gets his share of carries.
“Tim’s the centerpiece of our offense and our defense,” Rudloff said. “We don’t have the numbers. If we get a really good player, we can be really good if we build around him. We have a lot of good players this year but Tim’s the focal point of our offense. We go as far as he carries us. He’s a great blocker in pass protection. What he does really well is getting those extra two or three yards by leaning forward and keeping his pads low. You add those two or three yards up and by the end of the game, it’s an extra 35 yards.”
Friday’s game could be the first of two meetings between Revere and Marblehead. Both teams are in great position to qualify for the Division 4 North state tournament and could see one another again in the postseason.
“This tells us where we’re at and what’s going to happen in the future,” Rudloff said. “It’s not a league game. It has no impact on whether or not we win the NEC North. It has huge ramifications for the Division 4 North playoffs. The winner, because they beat an undefeated team, could end up as the top seed. The team that loses might have an away game. As good a season as we’ve had, we could end up with an away game in the tournament.
“As I’ve been telling the kids, this is the best team in the NEC. It’s the team everyone has to beat at some point. We have to beat them this week and if we don’t, we might have to beat them in the playoffs. It really tells you what your kids are made of.”