QB Bowdridge (162 yds, 2 TDs), RB Brito (2 TDs) shine in starting debuts, Da Costa (21 tackled) leads defense
By Steve Freker
The paycheck finally arrived for Malden High football Friday night – in a good way. The Golden Tornado football squad, like many others, out in plenty of offseason work preparing for the 2023 campaign, but went three consecutive weeks with no compensation. Using a combination of quick-strike offense and a bend-but-don’t-break defense, Malden opened the Greater Boston League portion of its schedule with a 27-12 victory over visiting Somerville at Macdonald Stadium in Malden Friday night.
The win stopped a three-game slide to start the season for Malden, as the Blue and Gold went to 1-3 overall (1-0 Greater Boston League). Somerville stayed winless at 0-4 (0-2 GBL).
“We are happy with the win and glad our team earned the win,” said Malden third-year Head Coach Witche Exilhomme – who has won his GBL opener two years running now. “We still have mistakes to correct and lots of work to do so we can improve as a team. But nothing is better than getting a win on Friday night.”
Malden got some impressive performances from a number of players on both sides of the ball. Ryan Bowdridge, just a freshman, had a banner night in his first game ever as a varsity starter at quarterback. In the season opener loss to Lynn Tech three weeks ago, Bowdridge threw a touchdown pass to senior Gabriel Vargas Cardoso. Friday night Bowdridge, who stands 6-2, found his favorite target, the 6-5 Cardoso, for another touchdown pass; Bowdridge also threw a TD pass of 55 yards to big Earl Fevrier, dumping it on the left sideline to the 6-2, 240 tight end and then watching him rumble all the way to the end zone.
For the night, Bowdridge had the best statistical game for a Tornado quarterback in many seasons, surpassing 200 yards passing (on 10-of-16 completions) for the first time since the 2016 season. Bowdridge threw zero interceptions and did not display first-time jitters either, with no shaky handoffs or missed connections with his running backs.
“He [Bowdridge] did a good job. He is becoming a student of the game quickly, despite this being only the second season he has ever played football,” Coach Exilhomme said. “He’s learning quickly and he has a big upside.”
Vargas Cardoso was Bowdridge’s favorite target with 7 receptions for 134 yards and the TD. Malden also got big boosts toward the win from junior captain Matt Brito, who was playing his first game of the season after coming back from a shoulder injury. Brito was a lightning rod on offense, rushing for a career-high 85 yards and two yards, with some stellar cuts which used his line blocking to perfection.
Spearheading a decent defensive night was senior safety Felix Junior Da Costa, who once again led the team in tackles with 21, sending those in the know scurrying for the record books to check that number. The jury is still out on that one for “most in a game” for now. Da Costa was all over the field and now has close to 50 tackles after just four games for the Tornados. Da Costa also returned three Somerville punts for over 60 yards, a 20.3 yards per return average.
Junior captain James Hyppolite also had a solid game defensively for Malden.
Malden on the road Friday night at Lynn Classical – 7:30 p.m.
Malden is back in action tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Manning Field in Lynn to take on Lynn Classical (3-1). The Tornados’ next home game in Thursday night, October 12, at 6:00 p.m. when they host Lynn English.
That game is Homecoming Game for Malden, and at halftime the Malden High Golden Tornado Club will be honoring the 2023 selectees to the Golden Tornado Club Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees include Coach Dana Brown (Girls Basketball), Jimmy Chery (2007, Football and Track), Dana Marie Brown (Basketball, Softball), Dan O’Boyle (1977, Wrestling) and the 2012 Softball Team and Coaches (MIAA State Finalist).
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