An Inside Scoop: New Varsity Football Captains’ Plan For A Winning Season

Jordan Rodriguez pregame standing for the pledge of allegiance. Photo taken by Brandon Wong.

Malden High School’s Golden Tornadoes football team has charged into the fall season with new head coach, Witche Exilhomme, and the addition of three brand new athletes onto the team. 

Jordan Rodriguez, Gavin West, and Kyle Paulding have been named the Varsity captains for the 2021 season. All three athletes are new students at Malden High School, making their varsity debut onto the field as seniors. They all described their transition into the high school and city as “welcoming” and as if “[they] had lived here forever.” 

Paulding adds that being named captain as a first-year student at Malden High School “meant a lot” to him and he hopes to “change this team around” and “win.”

  Rodriguez also mentioned that the Malden High School athletic program has allowed him to “have more of a connection with [his] coaches,” whereas in his previous school, Malden Catholic, “[he] felt like [he] didn't get that chance.”

The team currently stands fifth in the GBL with a record of 1-4. However, this does not change the expectations the boys have for their team, as West states that “if [they] can just do [their] assignments and just keep working hard every day, then every snap, [they] get better, every play, [they] get better, every practice, [they] get better. If [they] can just do that, then [they’ll] be an unstoppable football team.” A snap in football is an important part of the game, it is the start of an offensive play. The snap involves two players—the quarterback and the center.

When defeat comes, the team faces a lot of challenges, such as pushback from the students. This does not faze Paulding though, as he chooses to “forget about them, and [chooses] to go on by not even thinking about it and being better than last time.” 

Despite the losses, the team keeps their heads held high, as West believes that “[they] just need to encourage [their] teammates to make plays. If they mess up, [they] tell them to forget about it, [do the] next play and then just keep moving forward from there. Then [they’ll] easily get a win.”

All three captains agree that the best way to achieve their goals this season is to “push the team” and “play hard” but the boys also strive for connections on and off the field. Rodriguez wants his teammates to have “family-like bonds and to be a brotherhood inside and out[side] of football.” 

Rodriguez wants to build these bonds with the team because he “wants those players who are going to put their bodies on the line to play against the other team and help [him] because [he] knows [he is] gonna put [his] body on the line. [He] expects [his] players to do the same for [him].” 

As the season progresses, with only 3 games left for the team, Paulding hopes to meet their goals and become better by “working hard at practice, putting in extra time outside of practice and getting [his] teammates in the right headspace.” 

In the midst of the setbacks the team has faced, the Golden Tornadoes are pushing forward, as West says they must keep “moving on and making sure it's a good play the next [time] and then [they] can just go from there.”

Although Malden has not pulled out many wins, the team continues to “work hard and play hard” and is looking forward to the bigger events such as the Thanksgiving game, and senior night against long-time rival the Everett Crimson Tide. 

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