MARBLEHEAD — Many of the fans at Piper Field last night might have had a hard time verbalizing what they had just witnessed.
Marblehead High football coach Jim Rudloff could not be counted among that group.
Rudloff’s Magicians somehow found a way to hold off Gloucester, 35-33, but not before coughing up a three-touchdown lead in the second half.
“We were physically beaten down,” Rudloff said. “We really thought at the end of the (first) half that we were going to wear them down in the second half — and really, just the opposite happened. We made multiple mistakes because our kids were tired.
“I think we had a poor attitude in the second half, we got selfish on offense in the second half and we did a very bad job of calling the game in the second half.”
Marblehead scored three times in the second quarter and added the first touchdown of the second half for a 28-7 advantage. Up to that point Gloucester had managed only 54 yards of offense.
The Fishermen refused to quit, however, and jumped on the back of workhorse fullback Jordan Pallazola. He ended up carrying the ball 30 times for 225 yards and three second-half touchdowns.
Gloucester (3-2) quickly turned a defensive stop into points when Pallazola broke a 73-yard run that set up his second touchdown, then added more points after recovering a Marblehead fumble.
The Fishermen also stopped Marblehead on a 4th-and-goal from the 6-yard line late in the game, but they didn’t have enough offense (or timeouts) remaining to move the ball 94 yards with only a little more than a minute left.
“We’re a team that fights. We fight right to the end,” Gloucester head coach Tony Zerilli said. “We basically manned up (in the second half) and told our running backs that they had to block in the running game, and we let the fullback carry. We had to block better and that’s what we did in the second half; nothing special.”