By Matt Jenkins
---- — MARBLEHEAD — Coming off two below par performances and a bye week, the Marblehead High football team needed a game like this — especially with the Division 3 Northeast playoffs looming.
The Magicians intercepted Lynn English quarterback Jordan Lark six times and got another workhorse performance from junior running back Brooks Tyrrell, rolling to a 41-14 win over the Bulldogs last night at Piper Field.
All playoff matchups will be announced tomorrow afternoon, but it appears that Marblehead will be the No. 2 seed in its division (Division 3 Northeast).
The win last night was just what Marblehead needed after a narrow victory over Gloucester three weeks ago and a tight loss to Beverly two weeks back.
“We had that (bye week) advantage,” Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff said. “We were able to fix some things up. Lynn English did a great job taking away a lot of things we thought we’d be able to do, but the nice thing that I was happy with was that the players were able to figure out ways around that.”
In particular, Marblehead’s offensive line did a good job keeping the Lynn English front seven out of the backfield while Tyrrell maneuvered around many pursuing Bulldogs. He broke off touchdown runs of 25, 2 and 36 yards in the first half and added a 1-yard plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Tyrrell carried the ball 31 times for 164 yards.
Senior quarterback Matt Millett was also sharp for the Magicians in throwing for 132 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown to Brian Daly. Millett also ran for 99 yards. He got the Magicians on the scoreboard by scrambling for a 36-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-10.
The turnovers plagued Lynn English (2-4) from the get-go. The Bulldogs fumbled the ball away on their first offensive play, and Marblehead ended up with six interceptions on the night.
“You just can’t turn the ball over like that in the first series on the first play,” English coach Peter Holey said. “Against a good team like that, they start running downhill and you can’t stop them.
“At 35-0 at the half, I challenged the kids to not pack it in and they didn’t. They came out fighting and I’m very proud of the second half.”
English outscored Marblehead 14-6 over the final 22 minutes.
Rudloff was pleased with the progress coming off the bye and hopes it continues into this week.
“More than anything else, I said to my guys ‘I’m really happy that we got better’,” Rudloff said. “We need to get better for next Friday, if we’re playing who we think we’re playing.”
Rudloff believes the Magicians will host Wilmington in the first round of the playoffs Friday night. Wilmington entered its game with Watertown last night with a 2-4 record, playing a challenging schedule out of the Middlesex League.
“We said so many times (last night), ‘let’s put together four good quarters’ and I think we did,” Rudloff said. “We had a chance to get some kids some experience. We made some mistakes out there at the end, and our job is to fix those mistakes and learn about our next opponent.”