MELROSE — Melrose junior Isaac Seide ignited a fire under his team that the Marblehead defense had no answer for in the Division 4 North sectional final.
The 5-foot-8-inch, 155-pound tailback rushed for 245 yards on 30 carries and scored three touchdowns as the top-seed Red Raiders punched their ticket to the Division 4 semifinals with a 28-20 win over the second-seed Magicians on Friday night.
“A lot of [these kids] were not full-time varsity starters or anything last year,” said Melrose coach Tim Morris.
“For them to keep progressing and jelling and gaining confidence, it’s been great.”
Melrose (10-0) will face off against Hopkinton with a trip to the Division 4 Super Bowl on the line next week.
Behind Seide, the Red Raiders’ offense got off to a quick start. A 15-play opening drive eclipsing about eight minutes off the clock was capped off when Seide scored from 5 yards out. The speedster found the end zone one more time in the first half on a 60-yard dart down the left sideline to give Melrose a 14-0 advantage.
The third touchdown for Seide was the icing on the cake for Melrose. A 33-yard sprint to paydirt put the Red Raiders up, 28-20, late in the fourth quarter, and Marblehead was unable to tie on its final possession.
“I love my lineman. All they need to do is hold their blocks for a few seconds and then, bang, it’s an open way for me. I love those guys.” said Seide
Marblehead (9-1) fought all night in the frigid weather. The Magicians clawed their way back into it and even the game at 14-all on a 25-yard touchdown pass from senior Andy Clough to senior Derek Marino. Then sophomore Tim Cronin scored on a 5-yard run on the Magicians’ next drive.
The Red Raiders, though, took a 21-14 lead into the half as senior Gabriel Nyland reeled in a 13-yard touchdown from quarterback Charlie Stanton.
Marblehead got within 1 on Clough’s 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, but Seide came up with the block on the extra-point attempt to preserve the lead.Karl Capen can be reached at email@example.com.