On Friday, September the 23rd, the Malden High Golden Tornadoes played their third game game of the season against their in-town rivals the Malden Catholic Lancers. The game went to the wire when the Golden Tornadoes were positioned in the red zone with an opportunity to tie the game with less than a minute left. However the Lancers’ defence came up with a big red zone stand to give the victory to Malden Catholic in an action packed and hard fought game by both teams.
The Lancers received the opening kickoff of the game and immediately established their ground game. With the help of their star running back, senior Kellen Field, the Lancers drove deep into Malden High territory. However the Tornadoes were able to force the Lancers into a 4th and 11 at the Tornadoes’ 28 yard line. MC decided to go for it, but were denied by junior Marlon Cook, who was able to tackle Kellen Field just shy of the first down.
The Tornadoes started their first possession of the game deep in their own territory. They too were establishing the ground game, but with a much different type of approach. Quarterback and captain, junior Jared Martino was also able to drive his team into the redzone using his legs. The opening drive was capped of perfectly by a touchdown from junior Kelly Jean-Louis who gave the Tornadoes 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter the MHS defence held strong. The Lancers running attack got them into Tornado territory but the Tornado defence had an answer on each drive. Using a “bend, but don’t break” mentality, the Tornadoes were able to hold the Lancers to no points in the first half despite their long drives.
It was the same situation for the Tornadoes’ offence as well. They too were shut out in the second quarter by MC’s defence. However MHS was the closest team from scoring in the second quarter. With just a few seconds left MHS had possession at midfield, thanks to an interception from junior Edouard Bazile. On a “hail-mary” type play the ball was handed off to captain and senior Joshua Simon who miraculously managed to reverse his course, break numerous tackles from Lancer defenders before finally getting tackled inside the Lancer 15 yard line. However, the Tornadoes got no points on the drive as time ran out on the first half during the play. Going into halftime MHS lead MC 7-0.
MHS received the ball to start the second half, but were forced to punt after a three and out. The Lancers continued where they left off in the first half as they drove down all the way into the redzone through the ground game. The only difference was that they were finally able to cap off a long drive with a rushing touchdown by Kellen Field. There was not a single passing yard or attempt the entire drive. The Tornadoes looked for a quick response on the very next drive but unfortunately junior Kelly Jean-Louis fumbled the football which was then recovered by MC near midfield.
The Lancers quickly capitalized from the turnover as they were able to connect on a play-action pass to Senior James Hutchinson for 30 yards on the very first play. This positioned the Lancers in the redzone, where they scored on 3rd and goal from the 5 yard line through another rushing touchdown from Kellen Field. However the Lancer extra point attempt was blocked by the Tornadoes giving MC only 6 points from that touchdown drive.
The momentum of the game had completely reversed, and the Tornadoes needed to answer. Their drive started perfectly as the Tornadoes were able to move the chains into Lancer territory. After a tackle for loss on junior quarterback Jared Martino, the third quarter ended with a Tornado second and goal at the Lancer 20. The score was 13-7 Lancers.
The Tornadoes took two shots at the end zone to try and tie the game, however both were incomplete. This lead to head coach William Manchester deciding to go for it on a fourth and goal. The decision paid off as junior Isaiah Likely hauled in an incredible touchdown reception with a Lancer defender all over. The extra point was converted, which gave MHS ar 14-13 lead.
The very next drive MC went 3 and out and were forced to punt. It looked as if the momentum had shifted back into the Tornadoes’ favor but unfortunately, their offence too went 3 and out and were forced to punt. However things took an unexpected turn when the Malden High punt was blocked and recovered by MC for a touchdown. They then converted the 2-point attempt which gave MC a 21-14 Lead.
Later in the quarter MC had the ball at 34 yard line of MHS with just a few minutes left. However the Tornado defense were able to force and recover a fumble on Kellen Field and give their offence a shot at tying the game with about two minutes left. It looked as if Malden were going to tie the game after they drove down the field all the way to the Lancer 20 yard line. However the Lancer defence forced the Tornadoes into a tough 4th and 7 with under a minute left. Quarterback Jared Martino took a shot at the end zone but unfortunately, it fell incomplete which resulted in a turnover on downs. This allowed the Lancers to knee the ball twice and win the game 21-14.
With this tough loss, the Tornadoes have now fallen to and 0-3 start to the season. They host the Somerville Highlanders next Friday for an important GBL matchup. When asked about how they will bounce back from a tough loss, senior Pedro Lugo mentioned that “the last few weeks have been tough, losing really close games because of a few mistakes.” “But [they will] watch film and see [their] mistakes and learn from it.” He continued to say that “[they] hope to improve [their] offence so when [they’re] in scoring range or in need of a score like at the end of this game [they] can execute and score.