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This year the 50th Sam Aliberte Award was on the line for Malden-Everett game

DJ Exilhomme
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Presented to Malden’s top defensive player in the Malden-Everett game, since 1967

By Paul Leahy

  To Sam Aliberte, football was everything. Playing on the line for Malden High was his biggest goal. Nothing that he could do would mean as much, and he was determined that nothing – not even terminal cancer – would stand in his way.

  During the 1965 season, Sam at first dismissed a lingering pain in his leg as a badly pulled muscle. As the season progressed, so did the pain and he figured he may have broken a bone. But as the weeks turned into months and the season was nearly over, he knew it was something more serious.

  He played defensive tackle in the 1965 Malden-Everett game despite excruciating pain that would have made lesser men quit. It was the last time he wore the Blue and Gold of Malden High. Doctors would not allow him to play in the traditional Malden-Medford Thanksgiving Game in the season finale, due to his condition. Less than four months later, his leg was amputated at the hip.

  “I couldn’t believe it,” said then Malden High Head Coach Bill Tighe, after learning of the seriousness of the injury. “Never once did he complain, never once.”

  After the amputation, and then throughout the remaining days of his life, which were numbered, Sam always wore a smile.

  Sam Aliberte died in 1966 just weeks after his senior class graduation. A memorial to his dedication and love of Malden High football was established the following season by his parents. The Sam Aliberte Memorial Trophy would be presented to the top Malden High defensive lineman in the annual Malden-Everett Game thereafter.

  In 1974, the Aliberte Family made a change in the designation of the Sam Aliberte Memorial Trophy; it was formerly presented to the best defensive lineman in the Everett game, but from 1975 to the present it has gone to Malden’s best defensive player against Everett.

  This is a special milestone year in 2021 as the 50th Sam Aliberte Award will be presented to Malden High School’s top defensive player following this year’s game. The Golden Tornado Club, the booster club for Malden High School athletics, announced this week it will be sponsoring the prestigious award beginning this year, and it will select the winner from this year’s game. It will be announced in these sports pages at a later date. The award will then be presented at the annual Golden Tornado Club All-Sports Cookout in June 2022.

  Dave Gordon was the first Sam Aliberte Memorial Trophy winner in 1967. Witche-Valence “Witchie” Exilhomme is the only two-time award winner, in 2010 and 2011. He is now in his first year as Malden High head varsity football coach. Matt Geer was the recipient the last year the award was presented, in 2016.

—From 1972-1990, Paul Leahy was the Sports Editor for the Malden Evening News.


Following are all the Sam Aliberte Award winners, year-by-year:

1967 Dave Gordon

1968 Frank Moore

1969 Nate Lincoff

1970 Bob O’Keefe

1971 Steve Jones

1972 Ron Drinkwater

1973 Dan Provitola

1974 Bill Lundin

1975 Junior Ford

1976 Lou Femino

1977 John Mehos

1978 Frank Moreschi

1979 Joe Peluso

1980 Rich Casucci

1981 Chris Freni

1982 Scott Smith

1983 Dave Noone

1984 Dave Delling

1985 Chris Finn

1986 Dan Jones

1987 Brian Hatch

1988 Eddie Dicks

1989 Brian Newnan

1990 Mike Martorana

1991 Chris Fernandes

1992 Gary Lopresti

1993 Matt Perry

1994 Durkins Anthony

1995 Mike Ciaburri

1996 Greg DeVincentis

1997 Jason Hahnl

1998 Nick Cox

1999 Chris Noble

2000 Joe Wierszchalek

2001 Tim Connick

2002 Robert Divola

2003 Devin McNelis

2004 Kevin Newhall

2005 Sam Guillaume

2006 James Brito-White

2007 Joe Mengesha

2008 David Console

2009 Brendan Provitola

2010 “Witchie” Exilhomme

2011 “Witchie” Exilhomme

2012 No award presented

2013 Keyshawn Bridgeman-Dicks

2014 Anthony Boulay

2015 Djorggenson “DJ” Exilhomme

2016 Matt Geer

2017 No award presented

2018 No game

2019 No award presented

2020 no Game

2021 ?

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