Tornados blanked for second time this season; Rams passing game dominates
By Steve Freker
What it came down to was this: Lynn Classical’s receivers caught basically everything thrown near them… Malden’s designated pass catchers did not.
Classical Rams quarterback Brian Vaughan Jr. torched the Malden defense for 249 yards passing and 4 touchdowns while completing 21 of 28 tosses. Vaughan’s favorite target was highly-touted split end John Nasky, who caught 11 balls for 135 yards and two TDs. RJ Faessler had 7 receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
The loss dropped Malden to 1-4 overall (1-2 Greater Boston League), and Classical rose to 4-1 overall with the win and a perfect 3-0 in the GBL.
Malden was back in action last night in a home game with Lynn English, which was 1-4 overall and 1-1 GBL heading into last night’s game. The game started in promising fashion for Malden, which battled host Lynn Classical to a scoreless 0-0 tie after the first quarter. Malden senior safety Felix Junior Da Costa and junior captain and linebacker James Hyppolite helped keep the Rams off the scoreboard with key tackles. Da Costa also broke up three passes. Da Costa, who is in the top three tacklers in the state of Massachusetts, had 14 tackles and four assists to lead Malden for the night.
Lynn Classical eventually broke free and scored twice in the second quarter, both on TD passes from Vaughan to Nasky, one for 32 yards at the beginning of the quarter and the second with less than two minutes before the end of the first half. Malden hit on some plays offensively to get within shouting distance of the end zone in both of the first two quarters, on pass completions from freshman quarterback Ryan Bowdridge to junior Aidan Brett or senior Davian McGuffie. But Malden’s ground game was missing for most of the night, and the Golden Tornados were not able to use the clock to their advantage with possession time. Still, the game was still very much within reach for Malden in the second half, as the Tornado defense, led by Da Costa and junior defensive end Dwayne Saintvil, made key tackles and stuffed Classical on a long drive at the 7-yard line for no score, with the Rams leading 21-0, looking to put the game away.
All night long, Malden was beset by numerous penalty calls, slogging down its offense, or keeping Classical drives alive. Lynn Classical did not let up, adding two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Malden lost a couple of key guys to injuries in the second half, including junior captain James Hyppolite.
“It was not a positive night,” Malden Head Coach Witche Exilhomme said. “We have to do a better job in all areas when we face an opponent like Lynn Classical.”
“They have some very good skill players and if we miss a coverage or a tackle it could turn into points for them, which it did in this game,” Coach Exilhomme said. “We have to respond much better on both sides of the ball. We have to get in the win column, that is our only goal.”
EXTRA POINTS: Malden senior Felix Junior Da Costa is among the state leaders in tackles, with nearly 60 in five games: 48 tackles and 12 assists. In a win over Somerville last week, Da Costa had 17 tackles and 4 assists… Malden was playing without the services of senior captain split end Gabriel Vargas Cardoso, the team’s leading receiver and scorer, who was out with a shoulder ailment… Malden’s schedule does not get any easier after this week. Next week the Tornados host 4-1 Everett, ranked #10 in the latest Boston Herald “Sweet Sixteen” poll. The game is now scheduled for Thursday, October 19 at 6:00 at Macdonald Stadium in Malden, changed from its original date of Friday, October 20… Lynn Classical is in the top 3 in offensive production in Eastern Mass., totaling 426 yards of offense Friday and averaging just under 400 yards per game… Up 28-0 with less than four minutes to play, Lynn Classical declined to take the foot off the offensive gas pedal, keeping the ball in the air and driving down the field against Malden, scoring its final touchdown with 1:11 to play, with all if its starters still on the field, including its starting quarterback, who missed almost all of last season (10 games) after sustaining a serious injury in a similar situation in the spring 2022 season, while his team was up three touchdowns late. Malden wasn’t coming back Friday night from a 4-touchdown deficit with under two minutes to play, yet Lynn Classical continued to fire passes downfield.
Malden (1-4) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Lynn Classical (4-1) 0 14 8 12 —34
Lynn Classical: John Nasky 40-yard pass from Brian Vaughan (rush failed).
Lynn Classical: John Nasky 15-yard pass from Brian Vaughan (Javon Clayborne run).
Lynn Classical: RJ Faessler 2-yard pass from Brian Vaughan (Thomas Nolan run).
Lynn Classical: Julius Patterson 16-yard run (kick failed).
Lynn Classical: RJ Faessler 10-yard pass from Brian Vaughan (kick failed).