Tornado football holds on for 21-14 victory over Lynn English on Senior Night; Everett came to town last night
By Steve Freker
Malden football followers know that “Lynn” rhymes with “win,” but the Golden Tornado team’s fortunes have been anything but victorious against teams from that city for, seemingly, forever. You’d have to go back over a decade since the Blue and Gold gridiron boys had recorded a win over a Lynn team – Classical, English or Tech – maybe more. It has stayed that way since the “Lynns” – Classical and English – bolted the Northeastern Conference and joined the Greater Boston League several years ago.
All that changed last Thursday night when Malden outlasted visiting Lynn English for a 21-14 victory at Macdonald Stadium to end the lengthy “Lynn, No Wins” streak. The win made Malden’s Senior Night festivities all the sweeter – the Tornados honored their seven members of the Class of 2024 before the game.
The victory was Malden and Head Coach Witche Exilhomme’s second in the past three weeks, lifting the Tornados to 2-4 overall, 2-1 in Greater Boston League play. Lynn English went to 1-5 overall, 1-2 GBL. The win was critical for Malden, in its potential quest for its first postseason berth in eight seasons.
Malden had another big task right in its sights for this week. Last night the Golden Tornado squad hosted GBL leader and 16th-ranked Everett High Crimson Tide at Macdonald Stadium with an upset win on its mind. “One of our biggest goals include a spot in the playoffs and we could get a lot closer with a win at home [against Everett],” Coach Exilhomme said this week, as his team prepared for the Crimson Tide. “We are working hard to be ready for this [Everett] game.”
Against Lynn English last week, Malden welcomed back senior slotback Davien McGuffie, who had been sidelined for the past two games with an injury. McGuffie, one of the most explosive players in the GBL, made himself known almost immediately when he finished off a quick Malden scoring drive with the first of his two touchdowns to give the home team a first quarter lead.
Freshman quarterback Ryan Bowdridge hit junior Aidan Brett on an out pattern pass at about midfield with about 1:35 left to play in the first quarter. Brett made one cut to the inside and then found a seam to paydirt on the hashmarks for a 52-yard pickup all the way to inside the Lynn English 4-yard line. A shoestring tackle by an English defender was all that kept Brett from the first pass receiving touchdown of his three-year Malden varsity career. Bowdridge handed off to McGuffie on the next play for a Malden touchdown, and sophomore kicker Robert Fernandes’ first of three PAT kicks on the evening made it 7-0.
That’s how it stayed for the rest of the half as Malden and Lynn English played stalemate football between the two 30-yard lines. English had a golden scoring opportunity early in the second quarter when Malden misplayed a punt and gave Lynn the ball inside its own 25-yard line, but the Tornado defense, led by GBL-leading tackler Felix Junior Da Costa, stiffened and would not let English past the 18-yard line, with the Tornados getting the ball back on downs.
English had started what had become a game of “whoever makes the least mistakes… wins” when it dominated in its first drive of the game, going 58 yards on seven plays, before fumbling the ball away on the Malden 8-yard line – recovered by junior captain James Hyppolite.
At halftime, Malden fans got a thrill when the selectees for this year’s Golden Tornado Hall of Fame were announced and honored on the field. Also honored were the members of the “Homecoming Court” for the Malden High School Homecoming Dance, which was held at the school Friday night.
Malden took what appeared to be a commanding lead late in the third quarter, when a solid, 9-play, 71-yard offensive drive was capped by a 10-yard run by junior captain Matt Brito, his third TD of the season. Brito found a gap behind the block of senior captain Jerell Calixte over the right tackle slot for the score.
After Malden seemed to have grabbed the momentum, it quickly shifted to a free-for-all in the fourth quarter, where it became “whoever has the ball last” could be the winner. Lynn English awoke from its slumber and cut the lead to 14-7 with a touchdown on its first drive of the fourth quarter on a 77-yard, 8-play scoring push for their first score of the night on a 21-yard sprint by quarterback Limbert Thomas, who had 54 yard rushing and 98 yards passing on the night. Malden answered right away, scoring on its next drive on another TD by McGuffie, again for four yards, with Fernandes’ third kick making it 21-7 with 6:51 to play.
English wouldn’t go away, however, forcing a Malden punt with 4:11 to play – sophomore Jordan Em kept his team within striking distance, blocking and returning a Malden punt for a 43-yard touchdown to keep it close at 21-13 with three minutes left. The Rams’ defense was solid again, forcing another Malden punt, which allowed the Bulldogs a last-chance drive from their own 23-yard line with 1:35 left to play. Thomas hit on a couple of passes to bring English 55 yards to Malden’s 28, but his Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game was enough to give Malden jitters, but was over everyone’ heads and out of the end zone to end the game, as the “No Wins, Lynn” was lifted for Malden.
EXTRA POINTS: Malden was surely an underdog versus Everett last night, but was looking for a strong start and potential upset finish, as in the 2021 game, where Malden basically stuffed the Tide in the first half and trailed just 15-0 at halftime, before running out of gas in a 37-0 loss… Last year, Everett feasted on a billow of five interceptions of Malden passes – all leading to scores, including two “Pick 6” TDs in a 43-0 loss… Malden kicker Robert Fernandes is quickly developing into one of the most efficient for the Tornado football program, ever. He has hit on 7-of-8 in PATS in the last three games, including 5 straight… After last night’s game, Malden heads into its final regular season game on the road versus GBLer Revere on Friday, October 27, before two “to be scheduled” games and Thanksgiving versus Medford.
Lynn English 0 0 0 14–14
Malden 7 0 7 7–21
Malden – Davien McGuffie 4-yard run (Robert Fernandes kick)
Malden – Matt Brito 10-yard run (Robert Fernandes kick)
LE – Limbert Thomas 22-yard run (Jordan Hernandez kick)
Malden – Davien McGuffie 4-yard run (Robert Fernandes kick)
LE – Jordan Em 43-yard blocked punt return (Jordan Hernandez kick)
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