Moving the Chains
Ian Maag hadn’t given up hope — but he wasn’t exactly a believer, either.
On a better day, Maag may have been poised to carve up the defense staring across the line at him. But the simple reality was that Maag had not been on top of his game when he led the Marblehead High football team back onto the field for the final 38 seconds against Danvers last Friday night, just moments after falling behind by three points.
A game-winning drive was in order, but that was asking a lot from a quarterback who up to that point had completed 4 of 14 passes for 63 yards and three interceptions. Those were not typical Maag-like numbers.
But the senior captain proved his mettle by orchestrating a game-winning drive that can only be described as miraculous.
After throwing interceptions on his previous two throws, Maag completed five consecutive passes, including a hook-and-lateral play on the game’s final play for a touchdown that kept the Magicians in the hunt for a Northeastern Conference/Cape Ann League Tier 2 title.
“You gotta have a short memory,” Maag said. “We got off to a good start with a short completion, and they started adding up until we got into their territory. Then we got lucky on the final play.”
The focus of the final drive — like any final football drive — was to simultaneously manage the clock and move the ball to get in position for a final play.
Maag made sure Marblehead was able to do both.
From his own 18-yard line, he hit Brian Daly on a short out, then connected with Jeremy Gillis for an 11-yard pickup. Another quick 3-yard hit to Daly made it 2nd-and-7 from the Marblehead 36.
Maag went to Daly again, this time down the middle for a big 18-yard play that set Marblehead up in Danvers territory with six seconds left. Marblehead burned its final timeout and drew up the game-winning play.