Magicians begin season at home Friday night against non-league Bishop Fenwick

The high school football season kicks off Friday night, Sept. 8,  and on the local front the Marblehead Magicians will be at home to take on non-league Bishop Fenwick, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Marblehead Magician defender Christian Pacheco stops a Lynn English running back in his tracks during a scrimmage at Lynn’s Manning Field on Aug. 26. COURTESY PHOTOS

The Crusaders, still reeling from the harshest of penalties levied on any athletic program in history by the MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) for alleged student eligibilities, will be looking to take their frustrations out on regular season opponents after the MIAA banned all of the school’s teams from postseason play throughout this coming school year. The Magicians will definitely have to be focused to combat Fenwick’s determination to persevere through adversity.

But one of Marblehead’s attributes since head coach Jim Rudloff took over the program in 2009 is its preparedness. They take nothing for granted, and more times than naught they also show no mercy.

The Magicians have enjoyed winning seasons and long state tournament runs, because of that attitude. That winning culture attracts large turnouts of hopefuls to crack the varsity roster, and this year is no exception.

“We had an excellent turnout when practice opened up two weeks ago. We have about 62 players in our JV/varsity programs, and 31 more on the freshman team,” said Rudloff. “We are young at a few key spots, and are still trying to find our starters, while also building depth.”

There’s nothing like simulated game action to get ready for the season, and the Magicians had that opportunity in a recent scrimmage against Lynn English.

Marblehead Magician running back Gavin Ferretti is shown following his blockers during a scrimmage against Lynn English at Lynn’s Manning Field on Aug. 26.

“We had a great opportunity to go up against a vastly improved Lynn English team,” said Rudloff. “We made a ton of mistakes, but did some good things too. We have been working ever since that scrimmage to correct those mistakes.

“Some players have made the most of their snaps like Justin Gonzales, who continues to improve every day,” added the veteran Marblehead coach.

Nobody is a lock to start, but if veterans like Christian Pacheco, Chris Dewitt, Andy Palmer, Scotty Campbell and Jake Scogland continue to work hard in camp, they’ll be out there Friday night against Fenwick making plays, according to Rudloff, while Colt Wales, Finn Gallup, Drew Goldman and Nate Berry are competing for the starting quarterback job. Scogland, Palmer, Campbell, Dewitt and Pacheco are this year’s captains.

Rudloff says there’s inexperience right now in the offensive backfield to go along with having many first-time starters, as well as sophomores playing key roles. “It’s a matter of mastering their roles, and executing it at a high level,” said Rudloff. “The expectation for us is to keep working hard to improve every day.”

 Marblehead Magician running back Yandell Garcia is shown holding off a would-be Lynn English tackler during a scrimmage at Lynn’s Manning Field on Aug. 26.

But the coach likes his seniors, and that’s a good place to start to maintain the program’s longtime commitment to excellence.

During an interview with the Marblehead Current nine days before Friday’s home opener against Fenwick, Rudloff said, “There is still plenty of time for players to push themselves forward.” And history is definitely also on their side to accomplish all of their goals.

The Magicians (7-1 in the regular season, 8-2 overall) ended up losing to host Milton, 24-20 in a Division 3 quarterfinal round game last fall. The Marblehead boys led at one point, 20-7, before the home team staged a dramatic second half comeback to advance to the semifinal round. The locals first defeated Whitman-Hanson in a Sweet 16 game, 35-0.

Joe McConnell | + posts

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