Defense doesn’t rest for Malden

With the memory of the last game he played for Malden as a 2012 graduate in mind, first-year head coach Witche Exilhomme told his group that he’s never lost a Thanksgiving Day matchup to historic rival Medford as part of the football program – and he doesn’t ever plan to.

In the 134th edition of the holiday game this year, Exilhomme’s perfect record continued.

Behind a strong performance from the defense and special teams to help overcome an offensive effort that didn’t score a single point, the Golden Tornadoes (2-8) grinded their way to a 12-10 win for a 13th win over the last 14 Thanksgiving Day bouts with the Mustangs (2-9). All of Malden’s points came from Davian McGuffie’s 85-yard kick return, a field goal and a safety instead, capping an effort that overcame a halftime deficit and a heavily penalty-plagued game for both squads.

“It’s special,” Exilhomme said. “To come back and win this game like we did today. Hard fought defensive day, battled through a lot of obstacles. I’m proud of these guys the way they finished. We had a slow season, but I was proud of how they respect tradition and showed up today. … It’s a big tradition.”

Malden wasted no time to show up for its coach, as McGuffie found a seam and ran through it untouched on the opening kickoff for the 85-yard score and an early lead. From there, Medford’s defense didn’t waste much time, either.

As the Mustangs moved the ball well behind quarterback Dominick Terranova (56 rushing yards, TD), the defense gave Malden fits with a big day from Jared Allsopp (sack, 3 tackles-for-loss) and got enough pressure to prevent an offensive point on the day. Medford capitalized by forcing a safety on intentional grounding in the second quarter and scored on a 6-yard touchdown run from Terranova for a 10-7 lead before the half.

But Malden found some magic out of the break turning a recovered onside kick into a 23-yard field goal from Ronald Juarez for the tie, and senior Lyden Lewis’ second sack of the game came in the end zone for a safety and the 12-10 lead.

That paired with interceptions from Omar Ayouch and J.J. Irizarry to help hold Medford to just 36 yards from scrimmage in a shutout second half.

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