The Jim Rudloff Era started in 2009, and it marked the rebirth of the Marblehead High School football program.
That year, the Magicians came into the EMass Division 3 Super Bowl game at Gillette Stadium against Bishop Feehan with a 10-2 record. They were the Northeastern Conference Small Division champions, before going on to beat Rockland, 21-12, at Lynn’s Manning Field on Dec. 1 to advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in the history of the program.
They then lost to the Shamrocks by the narrowest of margins four days later on Dec. 5, 12-6.
Despite the loss at Gillette, the Rudloff philosophy was now in full swing. Everybody wanted to wear the Marblehead red-and-black uniform. The Marblehead Youth Football League suddenly became the farm system for more success at Piper Field.
Here’s some fun facts from that inaugural 2009 season: Marblehead averaged 30.1 points per game, while giving up just 14.1.
Marblehead’s biggest lineman was Ben Koopman (6-2, 268-pounds).
Quarterback Hayes Richardson was a dual threat. He was credited with 17 touchdown passes, while running for the same number.
Offensive lineman and linebacker Matthew Evans and running back and linebacker Evan Comeau were Rudloff’s first Marblehead captains, and 15 seniors made up the varsity roster.
In 2010, the Magicians took a step back with a 5-6 record, but they returned to their winning form in 2011 under the direction of Rudloff as a Division 2 team with an 8-3 record. They lost to Wakefield in the EMass semifinals, 7-6.
The Marblehead boys also ended up 8-3 in 2012. They returned to Division 3 in 2013, and were 9-2 overall, but Tewksbury spoiled their dreams that year in the playoffs.
In 2014, they were 10-1. They began the playoffs by pummeling Somerville, 42-26, but then came Tewksbury again, and for the second year in a row they couldn’t get by the Redmen.
In 2015, Marblehead was 10-2. They were the top seed in Division 3, but NEC rival Danvers surprised them in the Northeast title game, 13-6.
During the Super Bowl year in 2016, the Magicians amassed a 10-1 record, only to lose to Falmouth in the Division 2A game at Gillette, 34-13.
As a Division 4 team in 2017, they were 10-1 overall, 2-1 in the playoffs. The Magicians defeated Wakefield (28-14) and Wilmington (24-17) before losing to host Melrose (28-20) in the North sectional finals.
Marblehead was 9-2 in 2018, but dropped to 6-4 in 2019, which included a win over Swampscott on Thanksgiving, which began the historic 23-game winning streak.
During the 2020 COVID year with the season taking place in the spring, the Magicians went 7-0. Masco was the fourth game on the schedule, and they were able to upend the rival Chieftains, 35-19. The triumph was Rudloff’s 100th of his Marblehead coaching career, in just 128 games.
The Magicians won three more games that season, and 15 more in 2021, including beating North Attleboro in the Division 3 Super Bowl game to complete another undefeated season with an 11-0 record.
Rudloff’s 2022 squad won its first three games before losing to non-league Peabody, 40-7, to snap the winning streak at 23.
They then won their next five games, plus the playoff opener against Whitman-Hanson, before host Milton staged a second half comeback in the Division 3 quarterfinals, 24-20, to knock the defending Super Bowl champions out of the playoffs. But they quickly put that heartbreaker behind them to rout Swampscott on Thanksgiving, 48-7.
For the record, that’s 128 wins in just 144 games for Rudloff in 14 seasons along the sidelines. It’s an achievement that has put Marblehead football on the all-time map of great teams in the state.
Over the years, when football fans hear names like Everett, Brockton and St. John’s Prep, they synonymously link them to the sport of football. Now, in this millennium, Marblehead is among that elite group, largely due to one man, who can be counted on to faithfully lead his team to double-digit wins every fall with no end in sight.
Rudloff has built a football culture in Marblehead, and athletes at the earliest age are attracted to it, because they all want to play for him someday.