Malden Golden Tornadoes Football '19

Sat, Oct 19, 2019 10:30 AM @ Whittier
Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Malden 7 0 0 0 7
Whittier 0 0 16 6 22

Wildcats break in new turf with win

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Saturday, October, 19 By Jeff Hamrick

HAVERHILL – For the first time in almost a year, Whittier did not require motorized transportation to get to its football game. Instead, Saturday afternoon, the Wildcats strode out of their locker room then ran onto the school’s beautiful new turf field.

And although it was visiting Malden that put up the first points on the equally amazing scoreboard, Whittier left the field with a much-needed 22-7 victory over the Golden Tornados.

“Not having to take a bus meant we had home-field advantage and it made us really happy,” said sophomore Nico Burke, who turned a quarterback sneak into a career-long 44-yard touchdown. “We were hyped to play our first home game with great weather.”

Winless Malden, which had been outscored 177-40 its first five games, easily took to the turf, going 53 yards on the game’s opening possession. On the 16-play drive, the Tornados converted four fourth-downs including a 13-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-10.

Both teams had two long drives in the half, but no other points were scored, as they combined to run out of downs on the final three possessions with Whittier reaching the 34- and 17-yard lines.

“We needed to come out and play (in the second),” said head coach/athletic director Kevin Bradley, who has extolled the new field like a proud parent. “They kept the ball away from us the first half. Each team only had the ball twice, and I’d never seen anything like that. We had to come out and set the tone right from the second-half kickoff, and we did.”

Burke returned that kick 46 yards, setting up Whittier (3-3) at the Malden 37. Eight plays later, AJ Espinal ran in from the 5 and added the two-point conversion run for an 8-7 lead.

A juggling interception by Logan Raymond on Malden’s ensuing possession set up the Wildcats at their own 42.

“It was kind of like slow-mo,” said the 5-foot-9 Raymond, who switched from corner to safety with the taller Yuki Efosa because of Malden’s height advantage. “I didn’t really know the ball was there. I just went up to block the (receiver’s) vision because that’s the best thing I could’ve done in that situation. But the ball just fell right into my hand, and I didn’t know it was there. I juggled it, but I was able to grab onto it.”

Two plays later Burke busted his long run and another conversion by Espinal, who ran for 95 yards, upped the lead to 16-7 with 5:36 left in the third.

Raymond had another leaping and falling interception 3 minutes later at the Malden 43, but the Wildcats did not convert.

“They dropped me back deep, and I finally figured out the routes,” Raymond said. “Once I got that down, it was pretty good from there … I just read (the quarterback).”

The game’s final points came on senior Joe Iannalfo’s longest run of the year – 60 yards on a reverse with 6 minutes remaining. Iannalfo finished with a game and career-high 107 yards on eight carries. The Wildcats finished with a season-high 309 yards on 51 rushes.

Despite Malden’s long first-half possessions, Whitter held the Tornados to 13 yards on 24 rushes (8 for minus 6 after intermission) and another 72 yards in the air to Shawn Bartholomew.

“We were all over that quarterback,” Bradley said. “In the second half we were getting stronger, and they were getting tired. Defense set the tone.”

Game Statistics:

First Quarter

Malden — Matthew Bessey 13 pass from Shawn Bartholomew (Ronald Juarez kick) 4:04

Third Quarter

Whittier — AJ Espinal 5 run (Espinal run) 7:31

Whittier — Niko Burke 44 run (Espinal run) 5:36

Fourth Quarter

Whittier — Joe Iannalfo 60 run (run failed) 6:00



RUSHING: Malden (24-13) — Bartholomew 9-23; Whittier (51-309) — Iannalfo 8-107, Espinal 17-95, Burke 15-79, Dylan Fraize 1-13, Julien Acevedo-Torres 4-8, Jeremias Collazo 1-3, Tyler Harrington 1-3, Jyzaiah Ferreira 2-1, Ryan Archambault 1-0, Bryant Eno 1-0

PASSING: Malden (10-21-2, 72 yards) — Bartholomew 10-20-2, 72; Whittier — Burke 0-1

RECEIVING: Malden — Jerry Mervil 4-33

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