Marblehead looks to extend winning streak over Thanksgiving rival

Scot Cooper
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Marblehead captain Christian Pacheco (55) and his fellow seniors will be looking to close out their Magicians football careers with a win over rival Swampscott on Thanksgiving. PHOTO BY EYAL OREN / WEDNESDAYSINMHD.

Where were you on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012? If you were at Blocksidge Field around noon that Thanksgiving Day, you saw the last time the Big Blue beat the Magicians on the gridiron.

The Marblehead boys (8-2 overall, 4-0 in the Northeastern Conference) will look to make it 10 straight over Swampscott (3-7 overall, 0-3 in the NEC) in the 119th edition of the rivalry between the two neighboring communities at Piper Field this year on Nov. 24, starting at 10 a.m. 

For Marblehead, it will be a big lift after a tough playoff loss to host Milton in a Division 3 quarterfinal round game. Swampscott is also still smarting from its Division 5 Round of 16 playoff loss to host Hudson. Neither team will get that chance to repeat as Super Bowl champs, but a win on turkey day would be a nice consolation prize. 

The Magicians have won eight straight on Thanksgiving Day, while also beating the Blue on April 23, 2021, during the COVID year. Marblehead has outscored Swampscott 272-87 since that 25-16 Big Blue win in 2012.

Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff said you can throw streaks, scores and everything else out with a win on Thursday. It will go a long way to putting that playoff loss to Milton behind them.

“We want to finish on a strong note, obviously. We’re still hurting, because we lost that game (to Milton). We certainly felt that we could have won that game,” Rudloff said. “We didn’t play our best game, and we’d now like to come out against Swampscott and play the way we think we can play.”

Marblehead captain Christian Pacheco expects a great effort from his team against Swampscott, especially with the game at Piper Field.

“We are very excited to compete against Swampscott,” Pacheco said. “The game is at home, and we want to put on a good show for our Marblehead fans.”

Pacheco added, “After the loss to Milton, we were very frustrated, but since then we’ve been using that frustration for motivation going into the Swampscott game. We use it as fuel for the game. We know Swampscott is our big rival, so we’ve been working hard in practice all week long to get ready for them.” 

Captain Zander Danforth echoed Pacheco’s thoughts on playing a great game to wrap up his stellar football career with a Thanksgiving win over the Big Blue.

“Obviously, we are unhappy that we are not heading into the next round, but all of our focus is on Swampscott now,” Danforth said. “For almost all of us seniors, it will be the last time we put on the pads, so we are going to be going all-out. We are excited and ready to show what type of team we are.”

This year’s game will need some high drama to equal the 2021 edition, when a late Eli Feingold field goal clinched the epic game for the Magicians.

“Records don’t really matter in these games; it’s all about which team plays its best,” Pacheco said. “The younger guys have next year, but this is it for (the seniors). This year’s game is my Super Bowl.” 

Rudloff added, “It’s nice we’ve had some wins, but each year is different. We’re preparing for what Swampscott does now. We certainly have a bad taste in our mouths from the Milton game, and beating Swampscott would help with that.”

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