SWAMPSCOTT – Eli Feingold has booted longer kicks … in practice. Never in his life had he made a field goal of this magnitude until Thursday.
The Marblehead High senior stepped onto the Blocksidge Field turf with 2.7 seconds on the clock in a 28-28 game and absolutely drilled the decisive 37-yard field goal as time expired.
Feingold’s second 3-pointer of the season gave the Magicians a wild 31-28 win, pushing their season mark to 11-0 and laying their claim as undisputed Northeastern Conference champion.
“I got the call to warm up by our special teams coach (after Swampscott had tied things at 28-28 with 45.4 seconds left in the game),” said Feingold. “I knew I had to lock in and be ready for the opportunity. I know my holder and snapper will get it down. The line’s great. I just know I have to do my job. I felt it off my foot, felt good, a little low but it went through. That’s all that matters.”
The boot clinched Marblehead’s 11th straight win in the 118th meeting between the teams.
“Why do they always have a kicker?” lamented Swampscott coach Bob Serino, whose Big Blue will take an 11-1 mark into Thursday’s Division 5 Super Bowl matchup with North Reading.
“I’m kind of speechless right now.”
Swampscott mixed some serious heart in with game-changing plays to slug it out toe-to-toe with the Magicians.
It appeared that Marblehead, up 21-20 to start the fourth quarter, had finally squeezed the life out of the Big Blue with a 14-play, 80-yard march that ate away nearly eight minutes of the period. Josh Robertson (18 of 26, 176 yards) pushed the margin to 28-20 on a perfect 14-yard strike to Connor Cronin with 3:18 left.
The Big Blue could have rolled over, but didn’t.
QB Cam O’Brien showed a little magic of his own, first hitting Cole Hamernick down the middle for 51 and Nakarree Davis for 11 to set up Xaviah Baskin’s 2-yard TD run. O’Brien’s 2-point pass knotted things at 28-28, but those 45.4 ticks left on the clock were all Robertson needed to give Feingold a shot.
“We just tried to get as close to the end zone as possible. The goal was to score a touchdown obviously, but we couldn’t do that,” said Robertson. “We just tried to get it as close as we could for him. It didn’t matter what the yardage was, he was going to drill it.”
Robertson got things moving with a 22-yarder to Cronin (6 catches, 55 yards). He also sandwiched an 8-yard scramble around a pair of 5-yard outs to sure-handed Craig Michalowski, pushing the ball to the Swampscott 20.
And from there, Feingold was money.
On a morning of big plays, it came down to guts and Division 3 Super Bowl-bound Marblehead had plenty.
“I think it’s just the work we’ve put in. We don’t take any part of the football more lightly than any other, 100 percent in the film room, 100 percent in the weight room, 100 percent when you’re on the field,” said Robertson. “Every single rep you do, you have to be working hard, you have to be resilient, it’s going to translate to games like it did today.”
The teams both got off to flying starts in a 14-13 first quarter. O’Brien broke the ice with a 42-yard TD to Jason Codispoti, and Marblehead answered with a pair of short TD runs from George Percy (21 carries, 55 yards).
Bascon closed out the quarter with a dynamic 81-yard kick return.
The teams traded TD catches over the middle quarters with Michalowski scoring for Marblehead and Cole Hamernick answering for Swampscott to set up all the dramatics in the fourth.