You could say the Big Blue (5-6) were somewhat down and out coming into the game, having lost three straight games by a combined score of 118-33. And even though the Magicians were coming off the 35-14 loss to Beverly, they were 8-2 and unilaterally considered a solid favorite – especially by the opposing coach.
“We were a major underdog, but I kind of liked it,” Dembowski said. “And the kids really responded. The plan worked well. We executed mentally and physically.”
After Swampscott sophomore Ryan January came up with his second interception to stifle a Marblehead drive late in the first half, the Big Blue took over at their own 15 with 1:11 left, and no one would have questioned Dembowski if they took a knee and went into the locker room with a one-touchdown lead.
“I thought about it,” he said. “But then we had a good run on first down (11 yards by Santry) and we completed a pass on a double move (Santry to Robert Serino for 29 yards).” Following two more completions, Dembowski came up with a trick play – Santry lateraling to Aaron Cronin who lateraled back across the field to Santry, who scored from 20 yards out virtually untouched to make it 13-0 at the half.
“We executed,” Dembowski said. “Everything we drew up and planned worked to perfection.”
Marblehead capitalized on its only possession of the third quarter, going 89 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 4-yard Zac Cuzner TD run and Joe Newall PAT that made it 13-7, but the Big Blue responded on their next possession, Santry connecting with Cronin on a 41-yard TD pass to make it 19-7.
Mark Rittiboon stuffed Marblehead’s Brooks Tyrrell on fourth down at the Swampscott 3 early in the fourth, but Santry was tackled in the end zone for a safety to make it 19-9. The Magicians got great field position after the free kick and went 40 yards in five plays, with Cuzner’s 7-yard run cutting the Swampscott lead to three with 5:10 left.