MARBLEHEAD- The Wilmington football team had to be feeling pretty good at halftime knowing it would get the ball to start the third quarter after cutting the Marblehead lead in half with a big play in the final minute of the first half.
It turned out the Magicians had the Wildcats just where they wanted them.
Marblehead forced a big three-and-out before scoring three unanswered touchdowns en route to the 34-7 win in the first round of the Division 3 Northeast playoffs.
According to Magician head coach Jim Rudloff, it was all about getting that initial three-and-out.
“It was critical that we got that three-and-out,” said Rudloff, whose team will face Masconomet in next week’s sectional semi-finals.
“(In the first half) we did a poor job of letting them (Wilmington) convert on third down and that was really tiring us out. We knew, kicking off to them (in the third quarter) if we could get a stop we felt confident we’d be in good shape.”
The Magicians (7-1) scored on their opening drive of the game when Matt Millett hit Brian Daly in stride on a 31-yard fade pass. The hosts then jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter after a one-yard Brooks Tyrrell rush, but the Wildcats hit a big play in the final minute of the quarter to cut the lead to 14-7.
Ryan Colangelo somehow got behind the Magician defense and James Oregan hit him in stride for a 43-yard touchdown pass. Outside of that play, however, Marblehead allowed just one other play that went for 25-yards or more.
“We treated this week like it was the Gloucester game,” explained Rudloff. “Their (Wilmington’s) strength is they go right at people. They play in a big league and their third string linemen looked like our first string linemen. I thought the seniors showed great leadership. You saw them take over in the third quarter.”