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Marblehead21
Beverly13

MARBLEHEAD — Marblehead coach Jim Rudloff saw his team’s Northeastern Conference matchup against Beverly as a humbling experience.

After blowout wins in back-to-back weeks, the No. 8 Magicians (4-0) were faced with a battle, needing to find whatever way they could to pull themselves in front on Friday night. That answer came in the form of senior running back Tim Cronin, whose two fourth-quarter touchdowns were just what Marblehead needed in a 21-13 victory.

“We [needed this close game] and the timing couldn’t have been [more] perfect too,” said Rudloff. “For us, it is staying within ourselves.”

Following touchdowns by both teams in the first quarter, the score was deadlocked until the beginning of the fourth. Cronin hurdled one defender, then forced his way across the goal line on a 12-yard run to put the Magicians in front, 14-7.

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The Marblehead defense forced a Beverly three-and-out, and on the first play of the ensuing drive, Cronin took it 70 yards to go up 21-7 with 9:34 left.

“There was a big change from halftime in momentum and figuring out what we were doing wrong,” said Cronin, who ended the night with 174 yards rushing.

“We definitely didn’t fix everything that we wanted to, but we fixed enough.”

Beverly (2-2) drove 71 yards to answer with a 3-yard touchdown by senior Duncan Moreland with just over four minutes to play, but the extra point was blocked. A defensive stand got Beverly the ball back at the Marblehead 46 with 2:06 remaining, but careless penalties pushed the team back.

A turnover on downs let the Magicians run out the clock.


Karl Capen can be reached at karl.capen@globe.com.