By Jean DePlacido
You often hear a football team referred to as a family.
At Marblehead High, that meaning is literal.
The Magicians have five brother combinations and two sets of cousins on the roster this season — not to mention a father-son/coach-player duo. It’s no wonder fans keep hearing the same names being announced over and over again at Piper Field.
“These kids all grew up together, played youth football together and have been coming to Marblehead football games for years,” said head coach Jim Rudloff, whose son Christian is a junior guard and middle linebacker for the Magicians.
“The nice thing is these parents are really invested in our program as youth coaches, boosters, fundraisers, and helping with family dinners and cookouts. It really is one big family.”
The name Millett will be heard many times during a Marblehead game because there are three brothers on the squad. Senior Matt Millett is the team’s starting quarterback and cornerback; junior Will Millett is a tight end and outside linebacker; and Beau Millett is a freshman tight end and middle linebacker. A Millett-to-Millett pass hookup happened five times during Marblehead’s 41-24 victory over Lynn Classical last week as Matt found Will five times to keep drives alive.
Captain Dylan Cressy is a wide receiver and cornerback on defense while his brother, Reed, is a sophomore guard and middle linebacker. Then there are the York brothers, with senior Sam a long snapper and middle linebacker while sophomore Tedd plays wide receiver and cornerback.
Juniors Tyler and Brett Bial are both wide receivers who play in the Marblehead secondary, while quarterback/outside linebacker Spencer Craig, a junior, and his freshman brother, Harry Craig (a fullback/middle linebacker) keep the family tradition going.
“It really does seem like everybody is related to somebody on the team this year,” said Rudloff, whose team is 2-0 heading into Friday’s home game against Salem.
“We also have a couple of players whose older brothers were on the team last year. (Junior) Casen Sullivan is a tight end and outside linebacker for us; his brother Jack, who is now at Clemson, was a two-way tackle last season. (Sophomore) Jeff Stern is a running back/safety, and his brother Sam (now studying at Syracuse) was our starting strong safety a year ago.”
But the family connection doesn’t end with brothers.
Standouts Liam Gillis, a guard and middle linebacker, and his cousin, fullback/safety Jeremy Gillis, are team captains along with Cressy. Another pair of cousins are two-way tackle Tom Koopman and sophomore fullback/cornerback Mark Cohen.
“Liam’s father played football for Marblehead and the Gillis’ grandfather also played here,” said Rudloff. “Koopman’s parents have been part of the Marblehead family for the past eight years (including Tom’s older brother Ben, now a student at Holy Cross).
“We love having brothers and cousins on the team. Football is important to them, and they grew up around it watching their older brothers or cousins play. I think that’s a big part of why we have been so successful the last few years. We have a good group of football players that are keeping the tradition up, and the camaraderie on this team is terrific.”