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Malden hits it out of park in Thanksgiving victory over Medford, 34-15, at Fenway Park

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Malden dominates in all three phases of the game for the Turkey Time ‘W,’ extending series winning streak to seven games

  Witche Exilhomme has only been head coach for two seasons for the Malden High Golden Tornados varsity football team. But he has proven to be a quick learner when it comes to following the winning recipe for Thanksgiving football.

  On Tuesday night, November 22, Coach Exilhomme made sure the two main ingredients were key parts of the game plan in historic Game #135 versus traditional rival Medford High School. The two essential additives? Tried-and-true, dating all the way to 1889, are these:

  — Run the football, early, often, late… and then run it some more

  — Limit turnovers. Better yet? Render them extinct on Thanksgiving Football Day.

Checked all the boxes: run the ball, no turnovers

  On Tuesday, November 22, Coach Exilhomme and the Golden Tornados squad checked those two key boxes first and then many more in a convincing, at times dominating, 34-15 win over Medford. That the game took place at iconic Fenway Park – home of the Boston Red Sox – just added to the built-in glitz and glamour already attached to this ancient series. With the win, Malden extended its win streak on Thanksgiving to seven games, taking a 69-56 lead in the series which began in 1889. There have been 10 ties.

  “We are so grateful to everyone who played a role to have been able to play our most important game of the season at such a tremendous venue, here at Fenway Park,” Coach Exilhomme said after the victory, almost immediately after taking a double-dump of the obligatory, postgame water coolers over his head.

  “We are also very pleased that our players stepped up to the challenge and followed the game plan so well,” the Malden second-year coach added.

  “It was very important to us to play a solid game and get this win because we knew how many fans and Malden High alumni, former players and other supporters would be here with us tonight,” Coach Exilhomme said. “They all deserve to see us play our best.”

  Malden erased the slightest of doubt that the Golden Tornados had come to play – and play well – on the very first play of the entire game, when sophomore running back Kervenson “Kevin” Exilhomme, younger brother of the coach, took the opening kickoff all the way back up the right sideline 95 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead.

Second year in row Malden ran back opening kick for a score

  Incredibly, it was the second straight year that the game had begun in this identical fashion. Medford blocked the Malden PAT attempt that followed, but this ended up being perhaps the only play that did not go Malden’s way for the rest of the first half.

  On the Mustangs’ first offensive play of the game, about seven seconds after the kickoff return TD, Malden safety Felix Da Costa made it a “scoop-and-score” when Medford fumbled at about midfield after a short run. Da Costa, a junior and one of Malden’s top impact players on defense all year, scooped the fumble in the middle of a crowd and raced 46 yards, weaving twice to avoid potential tacklers, and made it to the end zone for a 12-0 lead for Malden. (Da Costa, who scored four TDs this season defensively on three fumble returns for TDs and a “Pick Six” interception for a touchdown, added a key pass interception in Malden territory in the second half to stop a Medford drive in the midst of a Mustang comeback attempt.) The Malden High supporters in the large crowd of close to 4,000 erupted in delirious cheers. Senior captain Kyle Paulding rumbled in for the two-point conversion and a 14-0 lead.

  The rest of the first half for Malden was simple: Game plan, game plan, game plan.

  The Tornados swore by the “Run First, Pass if You Must” all the rest of the way, eating game clock and letting the much bigger Malden offensive line clear the way for Kevin Exilhomme off-tackle or on-counter runs, or junior slot receivers Davian McGuffie or Alex Avalos on against-the-grain sweeps off handoffs.

  “We wanted to establish the running game and keep possession of the ball,” Coach Exilhomme said. “That was what we [Exilhomme and Offensive Coordinator Anthony Pappagallo] decided. We stuck with it, and it worked in our favor.”

  The end result was 122 yards rushing for Malden to under 70 yards for Medford, no Malden turnovers and, most importantly, the Tornados win.

  To the Medford defensive unit’s credit, the Mustangs also came to play that night at Fenway.

Malden built a 22-0 lead at halftime

  For the remainder of the first half, Malden played possession-ball a lot of the way, scoring once more early in the second quarter, after junior linebacker Karl Lange caused and recovered a fumble for Malden, setting up a short field goal for the blue and gold offense at the Medford 27-yard line. Seven plays later Malden was in the end zone again, and Kevin Exilhomme had his second of three TDs for the game, a three-yard run over right tackle for a 20-0 Malden lead. Paulding took a pop pass from Malden sophomore quarterback Aidan Brett over the left side for a commanding, 22-0 Malden lead with 8:17 left in the first half. Malden would threaten again late in the half, but Medford’s defense stood tall and kept the Tornados out of the end zone, with a Tornados drive stalling at the Medford 7-yard line.

  Maybe this near-goal line stand pumped some air back into Medford’s tires for the second half, as the Mustangs stole a page out of the Malden songbook and started the second half the same way Malden had started the game. Senior running back Stevens Exateur took a squibbed kickoff off the foot of Malden’s Brett at the Medford 38-yard line and hightailed to the left sideline (first-base side) right in front of the Fenway fans.

Medford does not lie down, cuts lead with two TDs

  This time it was the Medford fans’ turn to explode as Exateur found a seam and exploited it, zigging once toward the center of the field and then outrunning everyone for a 62-yard kickoff return touchdown. Matt Wright’s PAT kick made it 22-7, Malden just seconds into Half Number Two. Let the Medford comeback begin! After Medford’s “D” answered by holding Malden to a three-and-out, the “Hey, wait a minute…” rumblings began in the stands and on the sideline.

  Later in the quarter, after some sleepy Malden offense and some livelier responses by the Mustang offense later on, the Medford comeback became 100% official. On the first play of the fourth quarter, after Brett was forced to punt from his own end zone and gave Medford the ball at the 31-yard line, Mustang Luiz Barbosa broke free on what looked like a simple off-tackle run and sprinted 29 yards for a Medford touchdown. Dom Rizzo’s two-point conversion run made it 22-15, and any thoughts of an easy road to this win for Malden evaporated into the cool but seasonal Fenway air.

  “They [Medford] had played us even for a good part of the first half and then were hanging in there in the third quarter,” said Coach Exilhomme. “It was up to us to take back control of the game. Our offensive line and our defense had gotten us the lead early; we needed those guys to step up again.”

  Step up, they did. The defense caused another fumble on Medford’s next possession, again by Karl Lange. But Malden went out quickly on three runs and a couple of penalties.

“Da Costa Time” again with a key pass interception

  Two plays later, it was “Da Costa Time” again as Malden’s junior safety picked off a pass for his second turnover of the day against Medford and gave Malden another boost. Malden switched it up on this drive, with Brett (12-of-21, 124 yards, 1 TD, O INT) hitting three different receivers: McGuffie for 12, Paulding twice for 17 and then a big one, 6-5 junior Gabriel Vargas Cardoso for a 28-yard completion to the Medford 4-yard line to set Malden up at first-and-goal. After a penalty and another run play, Kevin Exilhomme scored his third touchdown of the game, a counter run over the left side for a 28-15 lead.

  Malden’s defense amped it up the rest of the way, led by McGuffie at cornerback, who came up with several big stops despite being hampered by an ankle he banged up on the very first series of the game, and sophomores Matheus Brito and captain James Hyppolite at linebacker, both of whom played standout defense. Brito had his best game of the season with five tackles, one of them a sack, in the second half alone.

  With Malden clearly in command, another Medford turnover (four on the game) led to one of the most entertaining plays of the game. Malden defensive lineman Joey Fils, the 6-0, 285 tackle, who also had a great game at Fenway – and a superb season overall anchoring the line both ways – recovered a Medford fumble at midfield. Malden went back, and after a couple of Exilhomme runs and a key third down-and-7, Brett-to-Vargas Cardoso completion on a slant pattern from the left side for 13 yards, Malden got back into the red zone.

Some Brett-to-McGuffie “Razzle Dazzle” for a TD

  Two plays later, Malden’s Brett ushered some good old-fashioned “Razzle Dazzle” into the game when he handed off to Exilhomme, who in turn handed off a reverse to Avalos, who then completed a “Flea Flicker” toss back to the QB. Brett escaped one tackle attempt and scrambled to nearly the right sideline before catching sight of a wide-open Mcguffie in the end zone. From a near-impossible angle, Brett fired a sidearm missile that nearly went more than six feet off the ground, right to Mcguffie’s cradling arms for a 15-yard touchdown and a 34-15 lead with under five minutes to play.

  Medford’s last possession fell short, and Malden’s coaches showed why this is customarily a classy series when the Golden Tornados drove all the way inside the Mustang 5-yard line but elected to take the Victory Formation knee instead of trying to score again. All that was left was the handshake right around the outskirts of Red Sox outfield and the Malden captains drenching Coach Exilhomme with the victory “bath.”

  What a night in Fenway! Memories forever for Malden players, coaches, fans and alumni.



Malden 34, Medford 15


Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022

at Fenway Park, Boston

Score by Quarters

Malden (4-6)     14        8          0          12—34

Medford (2-9)   0          0          7          8—15

Scoring Summary

First quarter

Malden: Kevin Exilhomme, 95-yard kickoff return (kick blocked).

Malden: Felix Da Costa 46-yard fumble return (Kyle Paulding run).

Second quarter

Malden: Exilhomme 3-yard run (Paulding pass from Aidan Brett).

Third quarter

Medford: Stevens Exateur 62-yard kickoff return (Matt Wright kick).

Fourth quarter

Medford: Luiz Barbosa 29-yard run (Dom Rizzo run).

Malden: Kervenson Exilhomme 9-yard run (rush failed).

Malden: Davian Mcguffie 15-yard pass from Brett (rush failed).

Tornado junior wide receiver Davien Mcguffie carries the ball thanks to some nifty blocking by Kyle Paulding during las Tuesday’s Thanksgiving battle against Medford at Fenway Park.
Members of the MHS Golden Tornadoes football team pose for the cameras following their victory over Medford at Fenway Park last week.
Tornado QB Brett Aiden prepares to pass the ball downfield as the Tornado offensive line holds back Medford rushers.
Mayor Gary Christenson gives a thumb-up while holding the Thanksgiving Day trophy, as he celebrates with city councillors Peg Crowe, Barbara Murphy and MHS Athletic Director Charlie Confrey following Malden High’s victory at Fenway Park last Tuesday.
Malden High fans’ pride was on full display for the media at Fenway Park on Tuesday.
Malden defenders were all over the Medford offense as Tornado Matt Brito wraps up a Medford player for a fumble.
The Malden High School Golden Tornadoes Varsity Football Cheerleaders at Fenway Park
The high-flying and talented MHS Football Cheerleaders in action.
Malden’s wide receiver by Kyle Paulding has his eye on the ball during last week’s action against Medford.
Tornado Deuel Obdeus gives the stiff arm to a Medford defender for some Malden yardage.
GREAT START: Tornado wide receiver Kevin Exilhomme carries the ball all the way to the end zone following the kickoff AT Fenway Park.
Tornado wide receiver Kevin Exilhomme carries the ball all the way to the end zone as teammate James Hyppolite celebrates at Fenway Park.

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