Magicians Provide Resounding Response, Best Masco 28-7
By Dwight Robson, Marblehead Beacon Contributor
Marblehead Head Coach Jim Rudloff got the answer he was seeking from his football team. Following last week’s lopsided loss to Peabody that snapped his squad’s 23-game winning streak, Marblehead Beacon asked Rudloff how he’d expected his team would play following its first loss in nearly three years. “We’ll see,” he said. “A good team finds a way to become stronger because of that adversity.” And indeed the team did just that. Led by senior captain Connor Cronin, who scored two long touchdowns on offense and had an interception and multiple pass break-ups on defense, the Magicians delivered a resounding response on Friday night, defeating the Masconomet (Masco) Chieftains 28-7.
Cronin had plenty of help, as several teammates had standout performances. That group included the players on the line of scrimmage, as Marblehead’s linemen—including Finn Maniaci, Sam Annese, Jack Aneshansley, and Jake Scogland—proved strong on both sides of the ball.
On offense, quarterback Miles Oneill threw two touchdowns and ran for another, while running back Eddie Johns ran hard all night and scored a touchdown on an impressive run from 13 yards out. Johns would have had a second touchdown run, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty.
As good as the offense was, Marblehead’s defense was better. The (2-2) Chieftains came into the game averaging nearly 30 points a game, but—outside of a touchdown drive in the second quarter—the Magicians stymied Masco’s offense all night. Linebacker Christian Pacheco helped control the middle of the field and partially blocked a punt. Annese had one and a half sacks of Masco quarterback Matt Richardson; Christopher DeWitt was very active, sharing a sack with Annese and making some impressive tackles, and Shane Keough and Zander Danforth—who returned to the field after missing several games due to injury—joined Cronin in picking off Masco passes.
Not to be overlooked was the performance of junior kicker Greg Motorny, who showcased his powerful right leg throughout the night. Motorny was a perfect 4-4 on extra-point attempts and sent multiple kick-offs deep into Masco territory. “Some teams respond well, and we had a good week of practice,” Coach Rudloff told Marblehead Beacon post-game.” Rudloff added that he was most encouraged by his team’s play in the second half, while praising his defense for doing much better executing the “little things”—including better communication and tackling—that so often make the difference in determining outcome.
“We cleaned up [our play] on defense, but our offense wasn’t close,” Rudloff added. Outside of hitting “two plays with guys wide open,” Rudloff remains concerned that five games into the season his offensive unit still too often tries to “do their own thing, rather than trusting the coaches and the plays.”
After Peabody contained Cronin last week by dedicating two defenders to him on nearly every play, Rudloff confirmed that the coaches made some adjustments in scheme to try to free up the talented senior and create explosive plays. “Every week the opposing team gears up to stop Connor,” Rudloff said. The veteran coach said that they gave the Masco defense a different look by starting Cronin at wide receiver, rather than the offensive backfield. “It confused them, but now it is on film” for future opponents.
Next up for the Magicians is a game this coming Friday at Piper Field versus Northeastern Conference foe Beverly High School. Kick-off against the winless Panthers, who were crushed last night by Danvers 47-0, is set for 6:30 PM