By Gianna Addario
---- — MARBLEHEAD — It wasn’t the game plan that Marblehead practiced for. But it worked out even better than they could have dreamed.
With a steady wind ripping through Piper Field yesterday morning, the Magicians’ offense made some last-minute adjustments and decided to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible.
The plan paid off tenfold in the more-than-capable hands of Brooks Tyrrell. The junior tailback carried the ball 25 times for a staggering 300 yards rushing, including six touchdowns, to lead the Magicians to a 51-13 victory over arch rival Swampscott in their 105th Thanksgiving Day matchup.
”That was fun,” Marblehead head coach Jim Rudloff said of the monstrous victory. “We had a couple days off from practice after the Tewksbury loss (in the Division 3 North final) and we said as a coaching staff that we weren’t going to introduce anything new ... we just wanted to refine what we’ve done well all season. So we practiced plays 100 times until we got it right.”
The Magicians (9-2) handled each play with confidence, jumping out to a 32-0 lead by the end of the first half. Tyrrell found the end zone four times in that time, including a 68-yard run in the second quarter. Never in the long, illustrious rivalry has a Magician hit the 300-yard mark in a Thanksgiving Day game.
On Marblehead’s first possession Tyrrell went all 58 yards in six plays until he hit the end zone from 24 yards away. In fact, Tyrrell was the only rusher who touched the ball in the first quarter; he added scoring runs of 2 and 20 yards before halftime.
”He was huge today and really executed for us,” quarterback Matt Millet said of Tyrrell’s performance. “He’s the MVP of the Northeastern Conference and makes my job a lot easier.”
Millet threw for 91 yards in the victory, including a beautiful 78-yard touchdown pass to captain Jeremy Gillis in the first quarter.
Marblehead’s dominance carried over into the second half, scoring three more touchdowns before Swampscott (4-7) got on the board. Spencer Craig picked off Swampscott quarterback Brendan McDonald and ran it back 77 yards for a score, while Tyrrell punched in runs from 1 and 77 yards out.
“We didn’t want the lead to distract us,” added Rudloff. “That’s a testament to the group of seniors we have. They took the biggest leap from junior to senior year. We asked them to step up and they really responded.”
Swampscott scored in the final minutes of the third quarter as McDonald connected with Cam Frary for a 16-yard TD pass. McDonald, who went 11-of-23 passing for 122 yards, also threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to fellow senior Desmond Wilhelmsen in the fourth quarter.
”I think the biggest factor was they won the coin toss and took the wind,” said Swampscott head coach Steve Dembowski. “They pinned us deep. We had lousy field position and they converted on some huge third downs in the first half that really hurt us.
”They’re very good; we knew they were very good. With the bad start we just didn’t play well, so it was too much to overcome.”
Wilhelmsen rushed for 114 yards on 26 carries.
Marblehead rushed for 366 yards a team while the Big Blue totaled 115 yards on the ground.
Marblehead 51, Swampscott 13
at Piper Field, Marblehead
Swampscott (4-7) 0 0 7 6 — 13
Marblehead (9-2) 13 19 19 0 — 51
M-Brooks Tyrrell 24 run (Garrett Keogh kick)
M-Jeremy Gillis 78 pass from Matt Millett (kick failed)
M-Tyrrell 2 run (pass failed)
M-Tyrrell 68 run (pass failed)
M-Tyrrell 20 run (Keogh kick)
M-Tyrrell 1 run (Keogh kick)
M-Spencer Craig 32 interception return (rush failed)
M-Tyrrell 77 run (kick failed)
S-Cam Frary 16 pass from Brendan McDonald (Jeremy Epstein kick)
S-Desmond Wilhelmsen 13 pass from McDonald (rush failed)
RUSHING: Swampscott — Desmond Wilhelmsen 26-114, Brendan McDonald 3-4, Ryan Cresta 1-0; Marblehead — Brooks Tyrrell 25-304, Matt Millett 5-33, Ben Anderson 2-29.
PASSING: Swampscott — McDonald 11-23-122-2-4; Marblehead — M. Millett 3-5-91-1-0.
RECEIVING: Swampscott — Wilhelmsen 3-38, Cresta 1-38, Cam Frary 2-26, Trevor Kelly 2-13, Ben Faulkner 2-6, Michael Faia 1-1; Marblehead — Jeremy Gillis 1-78, Tyrrell 1-13, David Bolognese 1-0.