By Gianna Addario
---- — His name might not show up in every headline in the sports section, but Marblehead's Dylan Cressy is one of the most respected and talented players on his football team this season.
One of three senior captains for the Magicians, Cressy has started in every game both ways for the past two seasons. His attention to detail, as well as the time and effort he puts in as both a wide receiver and cornerback, is unmatched according to his head coach.
"Dylan is the most reliable, consistent player I've ever coached," said Marblehead's Jim Rudloff. "I can count on getting the same effort and intensity from him in practices, games and in the weight room."
As one of the Magicians' most vital players, Cressy keeps things moving on defense. With his help, Marblehead has shut out two opponents (Danvers and Salem) and held three others to just seven points.
Cressy is also one of four excellent targets for quarterback Matt Millet, bolstering the offense along with Brian Daly, Jeremy Gillis and Will Millett.
"He absorbs coaching and has transformed himself into a player who can dish out and take a beating out on the field," explained Rudloff. "The price he pays, though, is tremendous.
"I call him 'Old Man Cressy' because of the extra stretching, physical therapy and ice baths that he has to do every day before and after practice to be the player he is. He's inspiring for his teammates."
The Magicians (8-2) will look to Cressy and his leadership as they take on Swampscott in their 105th Thanksgiving Day meeting between these two rivals at Piper Field (10 a.m.). It will be the second time seeing the Big Blue this year after the Magicians scored a 35-7 victory over their arch rivals back in September.
Despite what happened in their first meeting, though, Marblehead is prepared for what's in store come Thursday morning on their home turf.
"It's been 6-7 since we saw them, so I'm sure they've switched everything up since then and are a whole new team now," Cressy said of the Big Blue. "We've also put in a lot of good stuff since then. All we need to is execute like we did the first time we saw them."
Swampscott (4-6) has won seven of the last 10 Thanksgiving Day games, including last year's 25-16 victory. The Big Blue head into Thursday's contest riding a three-game win streak, while Marblehead is shaking off only their second loss of the season, coming last Saturday in the Division 3 North final to Tewksbury.
The Magicians, however, haven't lost two games in a row all season — and don't want that streak ending on the holiday.
"It's tough coming off a loss after making a good run in the playoffs," noted Cressy. "The last thing we want to do is end our season with a loss, especially on Thanksgiving.
"As a senior it's the game you've been looking forward to since the third grade playing youth football. For some of us, it'll be our last game on Piper Field. But at the same time, we have to treat it like any other game."