Marblehead High football coach Jim Rudloff remained optimistic throughout the four-game losing streak to start the season by looking ahead to his team’s divisional slate of games in the Dunn Division of the Northeastern Conference beginning in October. He knew they still had time to correct their mistakes, while getting healthy at the same time to keep all of their preseason goals intact.
Last Friday night, those words came into fruition after his Magicians (1-4) literally shutdown the
Chieftains (1-3) in Boxford, 20-0. Masco’s offense was practically stymied by the visitors, as it managed only four first downs in the game.
Masco got its only win the previous week against the Panthers, which is Marblehead’s next opponent coming up on Saturday, Oct. 14, in Beverly at 1 p.m.
“We are as healthy as we have been since before week 1,” said Rudloff. “We’ve dealt with sickness and injury, but that happens to every team, and you play with what you have.
“Injury-wise, we’re still not 100%. We don’t know who we have until we start practicing again [this] week,” added Rudloff.
Sophomore Finn Gallup and junior Colt Wales once again split the job at quarterback, and Gallup got his teammates on the board first with a four-yard run to the endzone in the second quarter.
Gallup then showed off his arm on the team’s next offensive drive, when he hooked up with captain Andy Palmer for a 32-yard scoring strike, his first of two touchdown receptions in the game. Sure-footed Greg Motorny booted the extra point through the uprights to give his teammates a 13-0 lead at halftime.
“Our two quarterbacks [Gallup and Wales] continue to improve their command of the offense,” said the veteran Marblehead coach. “Everyday they’re a little bit better, and that’s all we can ask.”
Palmer was on the receiving end of a Wales touchdown pass in the third quarter from 22 yards out, followed by Motorny’s extra point to account for the eventual final score. It was Palmer’s first game back since the opener against Bishop Fenwick.
“Having a player like Andy back gave us a spark,” said Rudloff. “The kids played hard against Masco, and it was nice to come out on top.”
Wales carried the ball eight times for 42 yards. Brooks Keefe had seven carries for 39 yards. Brady Selvais picked up 17 yards on seven carries. Gallup was credited with 10 yards on four carries.
From the air, Wales completed six passes for 66 yards and one touchdown. Gallup made eight
completions for 92 yards and one touchdown. Palmer caught six passes for 93 yards and two
touchdowns. Ryan Commoss also had six receptions for 45 yards. Keefe caught one for 12 yards. Crew Monaco also had one for eight yards.
“Ryan Commoss, Brooks Keefe, Chris DeWitt and Palmer played well against Masco,” said Rudloff. “Our entire defense really played their butts off, and my hats off to the offensive line, who have played well, despite being a different group each day for the last few weeks.”
After facing host Beverly this Saturday, the Magicians will have two weeks off to prep for visiting
Danvers. The game against the Falcons is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 27 at Piper, beginning at 6:30p.m. The Division 4 playoffs will then begin the following week. Before the Masco game, the Magicians were ranked 21 st in the 39-team division. They will surely move up when the updated rankings come out again this week. The top 16 teams from each division make the playoffs, with each winning a minimum of three games. The Magicians must beat Beverly and Danvers to remain in contention for one of those spots.
“Moving forward, we’d like to start practicing with a complete team in order to build up some chemistry among the skill position players and also on the line,” said Rudloff. “Beverly has been struggling this year as we have been, as well. They’re a well-coached team, and they play hard. We just have to focus on fixing things up that we’re doing wrong, while also building on the things we’re doing right.”