After the Football Magicians (3-1) tied up the game against visiting Peabody at seven in the first quarter on a 2-yard run by Eddie Johns and extra point kick by Greg Motorny, the momentum changed dramatically, and not to the liking of the Marblehead fans on hand last Friday night at Piper Field.
The Tanners (4-0) got that score right back before the end of the first quarter to regain the lead and then scored all of the game’s remaining points to snap Marblehead’s 23-game winning streak in convincing fashion, 40-7.
The streak started on Thanksgiving Day in 2019 against Swampscott, and what followed will be talked about for many years to come, even that spring football season during the height of the pandemic that preceded that glorious day at Gillette last December, making it all worthwhile.
The Magicians no longer possess the state’s longest winning streak, but Peabody would now love to challenge that feat. The victory over Marblehead was the Tanners’ 10th straight win.
Now that the winning streak is behind them, coach Jim Rudloff has his team concentrating on the next opponent, and this one is never easy. The Masconomet Chieftains are coming to Piper on Friday night (Oct. 7) looking for revenge after the Magicians defeated them twice last year, including in the Division 3 Round of 8, 21-7.
Marblehead went on to dominate Westfield in the semifinal game by – ironically enough – 40-7, sending them to Gillette Stadium, where they beat North Attleboro for the Super Bowl championship, 35-28.
But that was then and this is now, and Rudloff knows his team has to be ready for the next game and forget about Peabody and the end of the winning streak, because the Chieftains will be the same well-coached team.
“The winning streak is something we are proud of, but now we have to just focus on the next game,” the coach said.
Rudloff opined that he doesn’t think his players ever thought about the streak. It was all about winning that next game, and nothing else.
“I really don’t think the kids thought about (the streak) at all. I don’t think they think that way,” he said. “They were naturally disappointed to lose, but it was losing to Peabody that stung, not a losing streak that in some cases might have been only a three-game streak for some players on this year’s team.”
Rudloff added, “This year as each week went by, we had convinced ourselves that we weren’t the team that won 20 games in a row; we are only the team that had won three in a row.”
The coach acknowledged, “All of the things that we had gotten away with had piled up, and they reared their ugly head on Friday.”
The Chieftains, under the direction of Gavin Monagle, another veteran high school football coach who started patrolling the sidelines in the 1980s at the former Dom Savio High School in East Boston, are 3-2 after losing their first two games of the season to Newburyport and Grafton.
The Magicians are 3-1, and are looking to clean up “those little things” to get back on the winning track with the playoffs right around the corner.