Cuzner, a senior back, has sparked an attack that is averaging 24 points per game.
In Week 1, when Pentucket jumped to a 7-0 lead, Cuzner returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards to trigger a 21-7 comeback.
Last Friday, the Magicians trailed Newburyport 14-0 before Cuzner took back a pick-6 45 yards, the spark for a 23-30 double-overtime victory.
“There have been games when things have been going down the drain, and Zac turns it around,” Rudloff said. “He’s invaluable to the team.”
Bates (10 tackles per game) is the anchor on defense, and the 5-11, 220-pound McCormack has the versatility to play guard, tackle, or center.
Rudloff worked as an assistant at Beverly under Dan Bauer for four years (2005-08); previously, he was the defensive coordinator for Bill Manchester at Marblehead from 2001-04.
When Marblehead and Beverly meet on Nov. 10, it will likely decide the conference champ.
“Coach Bauer is having a great season,” Rudloff said. “I hope all good things come to him. They’re steamrolling people, so we have to make sure we have our pads on and our helmets filled with air before we get there.”
Hillies on the rise
After Haverhill snapped a 32-game losing streak and finished with a 4-7 record in 2011, the Hillies have jumped to a 4-1 start. They dealt Chelmsford (4-1) its first loss of the season Saturday, with Tommy Morgan delivering the winning touchdown to Jordan Javier with seven seconds left for a 30-23 victory . . . Burlington senior Marcus Odiah was held to under 100 rushing yards for the first time this season in a 22-15 loss to Reading . . . Lynn English’s top receiver, Josh Batista, suffered a knee injury in Saturday’s 35-12 win over Malden.
Anthony Gulizia can be reached at email@example.com.