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Jeannette’s Malik excels in return to football field

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Kristie Linden | Trib Total Media
Jimmy Malik is a junior and a three sport athlete at Jeannette High School.

Jimmy Malik, a junior offensive tackle and defensive end for the Jayhawks, is in the second year of his return to football after taking several years off from the sport.

Malik started playing the game as a 7- or 8-year-old with Jeannette Midget Football, but at the time, he really wasn’t a fan of the sport.

“I came back last year because everyone talked about how fun it was,” he said. “I liked it. I honestly didn’t think I’d be too good. I worked real hard to even play, but I subbed in with the first team.”

After some time back on the football field, Malik realized “I like being able to make plays and playing hard. Just being out there on a Friday night.”

He went from not playing at all, to barely playing to making the all-conference first team on offense and the second team on defense.

“It’s a big jump to go from not playing to subbing in to playing the whole game,” he said. “The coaches helped a lot. My size helped a lot.”

Head coach Roy Hall pushes Malik and gives him encouragement.

“He pushes me really hard. He wants me to lift more and motivates me to work hard and be better everyday.”

Malik also works closely with coach Jeremey Binakonsky.

“He’s a really good coach. He played in college and he knows what it’s about,” said Malik.

This season, Malik has felt like a leader because so many leaders graduated last year.

“Our line was underestimated. We worked hard to be good. Since last year didn’t go so well, this year was better.”

Malik’s first foray into football playoffs carried a different intensity.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “Practice is more intense. I feel like we’re getting better. You get more done when there is no messing around.”

In the last few weeks, the team members felt they could beat anyone they faced. That ended last Friday as the Jayhawks fell to Neshannock, but the mindset is sure to carry over to next year as so many leaders on this year’s team were underclassmen.

After high school Malik wants to attend college to study either business or marketing. He’d like to be involved in sports in some way, maybe sports marketing.

“I enjoy sports every day. Talking about it and learning about it.”

He also plays baseball and basketball. Malik said he likes all three sports equally, it’s impossible to choose a favorite. He would play any sport that offered him a scholarship.

“That’s my main goal since starting high school,” he said.

In his high school career, Malik’s goal is simply to continue improving.

He is the son of Laurie Malik and Jim Malik. He has two siblings, Francesca and Zander.

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at [email protected] or 724-838-5154.

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