Marblehead High football coach Jim Rudloff did say that it might be a work in progress with many first-time starters on the varsity roster during his preseason assessment of the team for the Marblehead Current two weeks ago.
“It’s a matter of mastering their roles and executing it at a high level. The expectation for us is to keep working hard to improve every day,” Rudloff said.
On a hot, humid night at Piper Field, the Magicians were moving the ball very well on their opening possession, before settling for a 22-yard field goal by senior kicker extraordinaire Greg Motorny. The offense then tacked on a touchdown in the second quarter to take a 10-0 halftime lead over visiting Bishop Fenwick, who lost its starting quarterback Bryce Leaman in that same second quarter with an apparent knee injury after Marblehead’s Chris Dewitt sacked him.
But in the first quarter, junior quarterback Colt Wales methodically marched his teammates down the field on the opening drive of the game, starting on the Crusaders 38. He then hooked up with senior captain Chris Dewitt for a nine-yard reception to the 46, before he found senior captain Andy Palmer for a first down on a short reception.
The Magicians then continued to chew up the first quarter clock, before settling for Motorny’s aforementioned field goal.
The Marblehead defense was a force early on. Seniors Wilson Bullard and captain Jake Scogland teamed up to sack Leaman for a 12-yard loss on his own 36 to basically end Fenwick’s first drive of the game, for all intents and purposes. It was on Fenwick’s second drive that Leaman left the game following Dewitt’s sack, replaced by junior Brayden Clifford.
The Crusaders got the ball back after the Marblehead offense stalled. But the home team’s defense continued to rise to the occasion. Palmer almost picked off a pass on first down, and seniors Braiden Kilroy and captain Christian Pacheco applied the pressure on Clifford that helped turn the ball back over to the offense, where it went on another sustained drive, this time resulting in a touchdown on an eight-yard pass from Wales to his classmate Brady Selvais. Motorny then nailed the extra point to give his teammates a 10-0 lead.
Junior Cam Quigley then picked off Clifford, but the offense couldn’t convert it into points, before the first half came to an end.
Fenwick came roaring out of the gate in the second half to trim the deficit to three with a touchdown just over four minutes into the third quarter. They scored late in the quarter to take the lead for good on a halfback option.
For Marblehead, it was just the fifth time they had lost a home game at Piper since 2013. It’s still not going to be easy this week on Thursday, Sept. 14, for the Magicians, when King Philip Regional comes to Piper for a 7 p.m. game.
Two years ago, the King Philip Warriors lost to Catholic Memorial in the Division 2 Super Bowl game, 42-18. The Warriors also met up with Catholic Memorial last year in the Super Bowl and once again they came up short, 27-7. But just to get to the big game, King Philip has been one of the best teams in the state for the last couple of years. Rudloff hopes his young squad will hopefully learn from any mistakes they made against Fenwick in order to tighten things up offensively to be more of a well-oiled machine throughout the entire game against another potent opponent.