After going full tilt since the middle of August with practices practically every day, scrimmages and finally the games, it’s good for any football team to take a break from the preparation weekly grind.
The Marblehead Football Magicians started their bye week after beating Beverly, 40-6 on Oct. 14. They have since been taking stock on the season to date, while also healing some nagging injuries. The extra time off has also given them more time to get ready for Danvers (4-2), their next opponent, Friday, Oct. 27, at Piper Field beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Magicians come into the Danvers game with a 2-4 record, needing to beat the rival Falcons in order to qualify for the Division 4 state tournament. They were ranked 17th as of Oct. 20. The Top 16 teams with at least three wins in each division make the playoffs. The Marblehead boys started the season by dropping their first four games, but they have since won their last two to give them a chance to remain in playoff contention.
Coach Jim Rudloff knew it might be a struggle at the start, because he had many first-year varsity starters in key positions, but he likes what he has seen recently. “We have seen some improvements over the last four games, but we’re still working on certain positions and certain situations they need to improve some more,” Rudloff said. “With some, we just need more reps to learn alignments and assignments as a result of some kids are now just returning from injury or illness.”
After the aforementioned Oct. 14 Beverly game, Rudloff gave his team that Sunday and Monday off. They returned to work on Tuesday, Oct. 17, to do some lifting and running, followed by the normal practice sessions that started up in earnest the next day.
Something about the Falcons
Danvers is ranked fifth in Division 5 with a 4-2 record as of Oct. 19. They were scheduled to go up against 1-4 Masco on Oct. 20 after press deadline.
“Danvers is right now the best team in our conference,” said Rudloff. “They have beaten teams like Reading (1-5, 16 th seed in Division 3) and Swampscott (3-4, 13 th seed in Division 6), and have been doing it with both the run and the pass.
“Their tailback Owen Gasinowski is the best in the league, and the best we have seen so far,” the veteran Marblehead coach added. “They also have a very good run/pass quarterback (Travis Voisine), who has started games the last four years, and so we definitely have our hands full (Friday night). This is a must-win game for us to make the playoffs and also to win the NEC Large Division.”
Rudloff admits he’d be lying to say he’s thrilled to be in this position, but he knows if they have good practices for 10 days leading up to the Danvers encounter, they would give themselves a good chance to beat a well-coached team. Ryan Nolan has been along the Falcons sidelines since 2017.
Besides practice, Rudloff and his players also had the opportunity to do some in-person scouting by taking that trip to Danvers last Friday night to see the Falcons faceoff against the Chieftains. Time is definitely on their side to get ready for Friday night’s showdown, now they just have to continue to execute the game plan on the gridiron.