Malden-Medford is now the longest continuous High School Football Rivalry in the NATION!
Game #135 kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Fenway; tickets are still available
The first time they played this game, way back in 1889, if a high school football fan did not walk to the Malden-Medford game, they took a horse and buggy. Automobiles were invented barely a year earlier and not in use anywhere. The forward pass was still 17 years away!
Over 130 years later, for the 135th time, Malden High School and Medford High School are still battling it out on Thanksgiving – but this year there is a major, added historic twist. This year’s game will be played at iconic Fenway Park in Boston – home of the Boston Red Sox – on Tuesday, November 22, with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for both the Malden and Medford teams, with both communities rallying behind their squads for what should be the ultimate high school experience.
“Everyone will remember this game for the rest of their lives,” said Malden Public Schools Director of Wellness, Athletics and Physical Education Charlie Conefrey. “This is the game that provides the most lasting memories, but adding the fact we are playing at Fenway Park, it really hits it out of the park – literally!”
One of the key reasons the Malden-Medford game was selected to play at Fenway this year may be the game is now the oldest continuous high school football rivalry in the United States at 134 games. It formerly trailed only Boston Latin-Boston English, which began in 1887, But Latin and English did not play in the pandemic-restricted 2020 season of Fall 2 in spring of 2021.
Malden did play Medford in Fall 2, in May of 2021, thus keeping its streak alive. The game returned to its rightful Thanksgiving morning slot last November of 2021, with Malden taking a 12-10 victory at Macdonald Stadium.
The oldest Thanksgiving Day game is Needham vs. Wellesley, which was first played in 1882. They had played every year since then, but in 2020, that changed due to COVID canceling the game. Instead, the game was played in the spring of 2021, and the outcome was Wellesley winning in a 34-0 rout.
Malden has won the last six Thanksgiving games in a row, including a 12-10 game at Macdonald Stadium in Malden last year. The Golden Tornados hold a 68-56 advantage in the matchup. There have been 10 ties in the ancient series.
Malden, led by second-year Head Coach Witche Exilhomme, comes into this year’s game seeking its fourth win of the regular season. After a promising, 3-1 start, Malden (3-6) has been mired in a 5-game loss streak. Injuries have been a constant problem for Malden, none bigger than a season-ending knee injury to senior captain and running back Mak Blaise, who had been among the leaders in Division 3 in both scoring and rushing. His season ended in Game 4 when he had to leave the game against Somerville in the fourth quarter, with Malden leading, 38-6.
Medford has not fared much better in the regular season, coming in at 2-8 overall. Like Malden, Somerville has beaten Greater Boston League rivals Somerville and Chelsea, but after a 47-6 win over Chelsea in October, Medford has dropped three straight games, including two in the post-regular season, 37-6 last week to Wilmington and 42-8 to another Middlesex League team, Burlington.
Coach Exilhomme had seen the game as a player in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and as an assistant coach in Fall 2. It was a whole new chapter as head coach in 2021, and he’s looking to keep a streak going in the right direction.
Coach Exilhomme said he and his team are excited about this year’s game as it holds special meaning. “Every Thanksgiving game is unique and everyone is special in its own right because, for that year’s seniors, it is their last game,” Coach Exilhomme said. “Fortunately for our seniors this year, they get to play at Fenway Park.”
Suiting up for the last time as Golden Tornados in tomorrow’s game are senior captains Andrew Louis and Kyle Paulding; two other senior captains out for the year are Mak Blaise and Zach Pan.
Despite the contingent of seniors, Malden still fields a young team overall. Two of the captains are underclassmen: junior split end Gabriel Vargas Cardoso and sophomore linebacker James Hyppolite. Speaking to the youths of the team, Malden is planning on starting a freshman at quarterback for the second straight year on Tuesday. The regular starting QB, sophomore Aidan Brett, is also injured and out for the season.
Malden’s favorite receiving targets will be junior slotback Davian McGuffie, who has five touchdowns this year, and junior 6-5 split end Vargas. Coming out of the Golden Tornados backfield will be sophomore Kevin Exilhomme, who now leads the team in rushing with over 400 yards.
Sophomore linebacker James Hyppolite and 350-lb. defensive tackle Vidal Garner have been leaders for Malden’s defense.
“It is said every year – throw out the records, it’s Thanksgiving – and it is true this year as well. This is Malden-Medford and it will all be decided on the field on Thanksgiving. It never changes,” Malden eighth-year Athletic Director Charlie Conefrey said. “This year is extra-special because we are playing at the one and only Fenway Park!
“We look forward to seeing all the former players and alumni who will come for this game. It is the best day of the season and we want to finish with a win for our seniors.”
Tickets for the special November 22 at Fenway game are available online only through the Red Sox ticket office at the following link: redsox.com/highschoolfootball. All tickets are $20.00 each and General Admission, no reserved seating.