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Still dealing with injuries, Malden loses to visiting Beverly

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Golden Tornadoes now gearing up for Thanksgiving football rival Medford, Fenway Park

  At the beginning of any season, coaches might have projections for their teams on what they might expect from them. But those plans never take into account a variety of variables like that age-old problem that’s seldom avoided in a contact sport – injuries – and Malden football Head Coach Witche Exilhomme knows that better than most of his peers this fall. The Golden Tornadoes (3-6 overall, 2-4 in the Greater Boston League) were able to defeat league foes Somerville (44-12) and Chelsea (38-12), but their losses against Revere (23-0), Lynn Classical (22-6) and Lynn English (8-6) can be attributed to those injuries that definitely affected his starting lineups.

  After a bye week, undermanned Malden returned to the gridiron last Thursday night, only to lose to visiting Beverly, 35-12. But they have an opportunity to salvage the season against their longtime Thanksgiving Day rival Medford at Fenway Park, America’s Most Beloved Ballpark. The Tuesday night (Nov. 22) clash begins at 7:30 p.m.

  Exilhomme expects quarterback Aiden Brett to start under center for the Fenway tilt, but he had high praise for freshman Matthew Stelmach, who filled in nicely for the injured signal caller. “[Stelmach] did a great job for us against Beverly,” the coach said. “We did a good job moving the ball against Beverly – about 300 yards – but we made a couple of mistakes in the red zone that kept us from putting some more points up on the scoreboard.”

  Sophomore Kevin Exilhomme started at running back in the absence of Mack Blaise, John Lloyd and Matt Brito, and he ended up rushing for 150 yards, while also scoring a touchdown to earn offensive player of the game honors. Felix da Costa was the team’s defensive star against the Panthers when he forced a fumble and ran it back 34 yards for a touchdown.

  But now it’s time for the Thanksgiving game, which is taking on added interest, because it’s at Friendly Fenway.

  But no matter where they play the annual game against Medford, Exilhomme expects the effort to remain the same. “I expect the entire team to show up and compete against Medford, because they always bring their best on both sides of the ball, when it’s the Mustangs,” said Exilhomme. “They really care about this [Thanksgiving] game. They show up every year no matter the record and injuries, and I expect these kids to show up, because this is a tradition, which is what separates us [in this region] from every other high school sports event in America.”

  The tentative Malden offensive starting lineup for next Tuesday night’s game at Fenway includes right tackles Jerrell Calixte and Joey Fils, center Karl Lange, left tackles Earl Fevrier and Jason Tan, halfback Kevin Exilhomme, quarterback Aidan Brett, wide receivers Gabe Cardoso and Davian Mcguffie, fullback Kyle Paulding and wide receiver John Nathan Sullivan. On defense, there’s end Earl Fevrier, tackle Vidal Garner, end Kyle Paulding, tackle Joey Fils, cornerbacks Andrew Louis and Davian Mcguffie, strong safety Kevin Exilhomme, free safety Felix da Costa, middle linebackers James Hyppolite and Lange and outside linebacker Brito.

  Exilhomme hopes another win against Medford will begin the momentum heading into the 2023 season. “We will be very good next year, because 85% of the team will be back,” the Malden veteran coach added.

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