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September 30, 2013

Second-half surge sends Marblehead soaring past Swampscott

SWAMPSCOTT — For almost two full quarters Saturday, the Swampscott High football team’s defense confused Marblehead.

Swampscott entered the game allowing an average of 37 points per game while the visiting Magicians had scored 40-plus points in all three of its contests. But before halftime, Marblehead’s chances of duplicating that type of offensive output against the Big Blue was taking a backseat to simply finding a way to win.

“We were completely flummoxed about what to do for a quarter-and-a-half before we figured things out,” Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff said.

Aided by a late first-half score, Marblehead eventually did figure things out and rolled to a 35-7 victory over Swampscott at Blocksidge Field in the rivals’ first non-Thanksgiving showdown since 1909.

Swampscott dictated the tempo and physicality of the game early on and took a 7-0 lead when Brendan McDonald connected with Michael Faia on a 41-yard screen pass for a score.

Unbeaten Marblehead (4-0) seemed to be spinning its wheels in its first four possessions but started pounding it with the running game, then stretched the field with vertical throws.

“The biggest factor was conditioning; they were in better shape than we were,” Swampscott (1-3) coach Steve Dembowski said. “We didn’t play that bad defensively. They didn’t run a lot of schemes and we knew what they were running, but we just got worn out.”

Magicians quarterback Matt Millett hooked up with Brian Daly on a pair of touchdown passes in the second quarter. The first, a 29-yard post with 2:31 to play in the first half, was like a sigh of relief for the Magicians. The second, a 26-yarder that Daly got behind the defense on, was the punch to Swampscott’s gut.

The Big Blue turned the ball over on their side of the field to Marblehead after a failed fake punt attempt. The Magicians needed only six plays to capitalize as Daly’s second TD came with just three seconds left in the half.

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