BOSTON — As Kevin Exilhomme walked through the historic halls of Fenway Park on Tuesday evening, he knew he was walking out to the football field for the last time this season. For many of his teammates at Malden, it was their final opportunity to play the game itself.
The sound of cleats rattling against the pavement became more and more pronounced with each passing step, but the Golden Tornadoes showed anything but intimidation at the historic ballpark. Exilhomme proceeded to return the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, and Malden would never look back, rolling to a convincing 34-15 victory in the 135th installment of its Thanksgiving rivalry with Medford.
“It meant a lot to me,” said Exilhomme. “Because this team is really like a brotherhood. To kick it off one more time with my brothers and win, at a place like this? It means a lot.”
It was the 88th victory in the series for Malden, and the Golden Tornados (4-6) didn’t exactly take long getting started. On the next drive for Medford, Stevens Exateur took a handoff, then turned upfield for a short gain. However, the ball was punched loose for Felix DaCosta. The junior safety collected the rock, then returned it 46 yards to the house for a touchdown. Just 42 seconds into action, Malden was up 14-0.
Exilhomme would add a 1-yard touchdown rush to begin the second quarter, as the Golden Tornados took a 22-0 advantage into the break.
Medford responded, however, as Exateur returned the second half kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown. The Mustangs would add another score off a 39-yard rush by Luiz Barbosa to trim the deficit to 22-15 entering the final frame, but that was as close as they could muster.
Malden would clinch things in the fourth, as Exilhomme scampered in from seven yards out to make it 28-15. Sophomore quarterback Aiden Brett put things away with 6:49 left in regulation, as he connected with Davien Mcguffie for a 15-yard touchdown strike to close the scoring.
In addition to his kickoff return, Exilhomme racked up 29 carries for 80 yards, finishing with three total scores.
After making headlines himself back in the day at Malden, Golden Tornados coach Witche Exilhomme proudly watched as his younger brother carried the program to a victory in the storied rivalry.
“I was proud of him,” coach Exilhomme said. “I’m tough on him, he’s a sophomore. He’s got a bright future. If he stays the course and keeps working hard, he will get where he needs to be. But overall, I’m proud of his performance. He came out tough. He listened, he tuned in, he made it personal. So we’re very proud of him, and we’re looking forward to the future with him.”
Going forward, things are looking promising for Malden. The Golden Tornados are only slated to graduate seven seniors this spring.
“This is what this coaching staff is most excited about,” coach Exilhomme said. “The fact that we’re starting a lot of sophomores. Probably about seven to eight sophomores that start both ways on the ball. We’re excited about that … so the program is heading in the right direction, and we’re very happy about that.”