Marblehead extends winning streak to 23 games

NORTH ANDOVER — Whenever Marblehead looks set to have his cross-state winning streak shattered, Connor Cronin delivers.

On a fast-paced Friday night and in a tough road environment, Marblehead extended their winning streak to 23 games with a 12-7 victory over North Andover behind Cronin’s 39-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter.

The Magicians’ 23-game winning streak is the longest in Massachusetts since King Philip’s 25-game winning streak that ended the first week of 2018. The longest winning streak in high school football history in the Massachusetts belongs to Acton-Boxboro (52).

“We knew we were up against a good opponent tonight, but overall we got the job done,” Cronin said. “Every team comes to us. North Andover has been talking rubbish all week. We’re going to keep doing what we do which is winning.

North Andover (2-1) broke the ice late in the first half as after just two pass attempts in the first 21 minutes, Drew Fitzgerald dropped a 28-yard penny into the hands of Cam Partridge to put the Scarlet Knights up 7-0.

Despite only having a minute until half-time, Marblehead responded. Cronin returned the kickoff that followed 47 yards to the Magicians’ 49. Miles O’Neill then went 5-for-7 for 51 yards, the last of which was a nine-yard touchdown to Ryan Commoss to pull Marblehead down 7-6 at the break.

Marblehead took the lead in their final practice of the third quarter. After joining Cronin for a 21-yard reception on the long third, O’Neill found his main target again, connecting with Cronin on a deep post lane for a 39-yard touchdown to put the visitors ahead, 12-7.

“This is the third team in a row that has adjusted coverage just for Connor (Cronin),” Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff said. “What he’s very good at is not taking a rough route and letting their coverage develop before they find the seam.”

North Andover had one last chance to win the game when they held possession with just over four minutes to go. The Magicians defense, however, held firm and Christian Pacheco made a key tackle for a loss to force a turnover on the downs and hand Marblehead a key non-league victory.

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