By Phil Stacey
---- — DANVERS — During the offseason, the Marblehead High football team changed its strength and conditioning program, taking more of a physical approach to their workouts in the hopes it would pay off once the actual season began.
If one game can be considered a sample size, then this experiment has been 1,000 percent positive.
Marblehead came into Deering Stadium and dominated from the opening whistle last night, owning the line of scrimmage and racking up 475 yards of offense in hammering host Danvers, 44-0, in the season opener for both.
Using a faster style of play that saw them get to the line and run their plays quickly, the Magicians scored on six of their first seven drives and took a knee to run out the clock on their eighth. They completed a rare trifecta by having players go over 100 yards in rushing (Brooks Tyrrell, with 147 yards and 2 TDs on 23 carries); passing (quarterback Matt Millett, who completed 8 of 10 attempts for 144 yards and two scores) and receiving (tight end Jeremy Gillis, who caught four passes for 112 yards and hit paydirt once).
Perhaps the night’s most telling stat for Marblehead was that in its 50 offensive plays that were run, none one of those went for negative yardage.
“Traditionally in my five years here, we’ve always had rough goings in our season opener,” said head coach Jim Rudloff. Clearly, that wasn’t the case last night.
“What we did (offensively) wasn’t so much hurry up as it is we’re playing and practicing differently. We’re trying to do everything faster. The kids love it; we’re practicing faster and getting more done, and it translated onto the field (last night).”
Going for more of a strength program, using such methods as Olympic lifts in an attempt to be bigger and stronger as a team, was evident. The Magician linemen — tackles Dan Marino and Liam Gillis, guards Christian Rudloff and 310-pound junior behemoth Derek Dumais, and center Trevor Gelineau, along with Jeremy Gillis at tight end — wore down the Falcon trenchmen with their conditioning and physicality.
As a result, there were gaping holes for Tyrrell, Ben Anderson (45 yards and a TD on 6 carries) and Millett (44 carries on 5 attempts) to run through. “Brooks was a horse; he made holes that weren’t there before he slipped through them,” said Rudloff.
When Millett dropped back to pass, he was given plenty of time to set up and find Jeremy Gillis, wideout Brian Daly (4 catches for 74 yards and 2 scores, including a 54-yard TD pass from backup Spencer Craig) and Will Millett (1 catch, 9 yards).
The Magicians equaled both their largest ever margin of victory over Danvers and largest shutout in the series by either team; they bested the Oniontowners by the same score in 1944. Marblehead has now won eight straight in the overall series, which they lead 47-34.
“We hung tough for the first half, but there were a lot of mistakes,” admitted Danvers head coach Sean Rogers. “It’s the tackling, it’s the blocking, it’s running the correct routes.
“We were prepared; we just didn’t respond.”
Including sacks, Danvers had just 68 yards of offense on the night. Junior quarterback Nick Andreas found senior captain Anthony Cordoba on all but one of his six pass completions, good for 32 yards.
Tyrrell’s 3-yard plunge and a Jeremy Gillis conversion rush made it 8-0 Marblehead after one quarter. Millett hooked up with Daly (6 yards) and Jeremy Gillis (34 yards) on pop passes to make it 22-0 at the half. Tyrrell (2 yards) and Anderson (3 yards) added rushing touchdowns in the third quarter before Craig found Daly alone down the left sideline in the fourth for the game’s final score.
“Tyrrell runs hard; he makes the first guy miss and then always surges forward after he’s hit, getting more positive yardage,” said Rogers. “And (Millett), we challenged him to throw into man coverage and, to his credit, he made the plays. No. 23 (Gillis) also made some great catches in tough coverage.”
Marblehead will host Lynn Classical in its home opener next Thursday night (7 p.m.) at Piper Field, while Danvers returns to Deering Stadium next Friday to meet defending NEC champion Beverly (7 p.m.).
agateHed:Marblehead 44, Danvers 0
agate_boldCentered:at Deering Stadium, Danvers
agate_lineQuarters:Marblehead (1-0) 8 14 15 7 — 44
agate_lineQuarters:Danvers (0-1) 0 0 0 0 — 0
agateText:M-Brooks Tyrrell 3 run (Jeremy Gillis rush)
M-Brian Daly 6 pass from Matt Millett (Dylan Cressy pass from Millett)
M-J. Gillis 34 pass from Millett (rush failed)
M-Tyrrell 2 run (J. Gillis rush)
M-Ben Anderson 3 run (Garrett Keogh kick)
M-Daly 54 pass from Spencer Craig (Keogh kick)
agateText:RUSHING: Marblehead — Brooks Tyrrell 23-147; Ben Anderson 6-45; Matt Millett 5-44; Spencer Craig 1-18; Alex Myers 2-11; Mark Cohen 1-8; Jeremy Gillis 1-2; Danvers — Anthony Cordoba 3-16; John Thomas 1-14; Chris Behen 6-12; Alex Valles 7-11; Nick Andreas 2-5; Jeremy Koen 1-(-2).
agateText:PASSING: Marblehead — Millett 8-10-144-2-0; Craig 1-1-54-1-0; Danvers — N. Andreas 6-14-40-0-0.
agateText:RECEIVING: Marblehead — J. Gillis 4-112; Brian Daly 4-74; Will Millett 1-12; Danvers — Cordoba 5-32; Matt Andreas 1-8.