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Sophomore ‘Excel’-homme belts grand-slam homer in Thanksgiving win

Malden vs Medford at Fenway Park 11-22-22 (36 of 41)-2
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Gets Malden Tornadoes team off to great start with 95-yard kickoff return touchdown; tacks on two more TDs in dominant performance

  No, they do not plan on allowing action on high school events when the state politicos vote on legalized sports betting, very soon, in the Commonwealth. But can you imagine what the odds would have been – and the haul that followed – if someone dropped some coin down the street at Encore on this proposition: “Malden will run the opening kickoff back for a touchdown against Medford for the second straight year in the Thanksgiving game…”

  That indeed is how it played out last Tuesday when Malden High sophomore running back Kervenson “Kevin” “Excel” Exilhomme ran back the opening kickoff 95 yards for a Golden Tornados touchdown to send the many Malden fans in the Fenway Park crowd into a frenzy. Even the ones who had not even gotten to their seats yet! Apparently, whatever magic had caused the exact same start to last year’s Malden win (12-10 over Medford in Game #134) had wafted into “America’s Oldest Ballpark” and gave Malden another whiff of it. Last year, at Macdonald Stadium in Malden, the same electrifying game starter happened when then sophomore Davian McGuffie took a kickoff at his own 19-yard line and raced up the right sideline untouched for a Golden Tornados touchdown.

  Got all that?

  – Malden-Medford Game… check.

  – Game-opening kickoff return… check

  – Sophomore kick returner…. check

  – Sprinting all the way up the right sideline for a touchdown… check, again!


  There’s no question this has never happened before in back-to-back years in this ancient series. No way.

  Of course, the whole play almost ended in utter disaster for Malden – not jubilant celebration. Medford kicker Matt Wright – who’s got quite a leg on him – boomed the opening kickoff in the air to about the Malden 20-yard line. It took a bounce or two and made Exilhomme double back to about the Malden 4-yard line. He picked it up… but then dropped it and began to squirt away as the Medford kick coverage team swarmed to him. Miraculously for Malden, just as Exilhomme appeared to be getting knocked over like a bowling pin, he scooped the ball, made one juke and began racing up the right sideline, right in front of the team benches. Since just about the entire Medford team had converged on Exilhomme before he declined “sitting duck” status back at the 4-yard line, there was nothing ahead of him but wide-open Fenway Park left field grass. Ninety-five yards later, he was in the end zone, and Malden had remarkably duplicated its fantastic game-opening play from a year earlier.

  “Once I had the ball safe under arm and I saw an opening, I just ran as fast as I could,” Exilhomme, who has started every game on both offense and defense this year, recalled. “When I saw no one in front of me, I just ran a little harder to get to the end zone. I knew I could score and I did.”

  At a couple of points on his lengthy, 95-yard jaunt, Exilhomme himself appeared to have a bit of disbelief, as in just about every photo that was published of him after the game, his head seems to be on a swivel, looking behind to see if anyone was gaining on him. No one was.

  The opening fireworks was just the precursor to the career game Exilhomme would go on to have, as he would tack on two more touchdowns and lead the game in rushing (29 carries, 81 yards). His contribution to the Malden ground game was the foundation for the Golden Tornados’ gameplan. He also was a key “hot” receiver for sophomore classmate and quarterback Aidan Brett, who dumped off to him three times for what turned out to be drive-continuing receptions, all three of them on third down.

  For any college recruiters in the house that night, it was a bit of a coming out party for Exilhomme, a lanky, 6-2, 195 running back/linebacker who just recently turned 16 years old. Just a sophomore, the learning curve has a way to go for him and his teammates on the youth-driven Golden Tornados; he sure had an awfully big head start.

  Exilhomme’s head coach, second-year Top Tornado Witche Exilhomme, who starred for Malden a decade-plus ago, happens to be Kevin’s older brother. The Malden football boss, who also was a standout at American International College (AIC) from 2013-2016 and had some professional football looks, admits he’s a “hard marker” when it comes to evaluating his younger brother Kevin. But even he was able to give a solid “thumbs up” after Tuesday’s win.

  “I’m very, very happy for him [Kevin] and I’ll never tell him that,” said Coach Witche, with a smile. “He’s having a very good year and he’s going to shatter my records.”

  “For him to come out here, play tough, take this personal, clock in when we needed him, that’s very big. I’m very happy for him,” the Malden coach added. “I’m happy for his future, and I’m just fortunate and blessed to be a part of it and witness it from the sideline, not from the stands.”

  The way it looks right now, Kevin Exilhomme may have left more than the sophomore jitters in the rear-view mirror on his historic kickoff return TD, and it looks like smooth sailing with some great experience gained as the 2023 and 2024 seasons loom ahead.

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