by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
A ferocious battle in the trenches developed when the Rogers Royals and the Monticello Magic clashed last Friday evening. Both lines held their ground intensely as defenses dominated the key Mississippi 8 duel.
Josh Malin was one of the main reasons Rogers had the edge and wrested a 10-7 victory from the previously-unbeaten Magic. The Royals’ 6-foot, 240-pound defensive lineman made six tackles, used up two blockers on many plays, and helped collapse the pocket when the Magic tried to pass, pretty much what he does every game.
“Josh is a very physical presence on our defensive line,” said Rogers coach Marc Franz. “He is definitely the leader of the group, not so much vocally but just his strength and effort and the plays he makes. The other guys take their cue from him.”
The Royals limited Monticello to 123 yards rushing (they’d been averaging 266) along with 103 passing, a strong rebound from the previous week when STMA handed them a rare conference loss 28-14.
Malin uses an explosive first step and vice-grip hands to get an advantage.
“He is big enough to control his guy once he gets his hands on him,” said Franz. “At nose against Monticello, he physically controlled the center. He’s not a guy who’s going to get pressure on the quarterback, but he does collapse the pocket.”
Malin has seven solo tackles and 12 assisted tackles, with 1.5 quarterback sacks and three other tackles for loss, in five games. His disruptive moves at nose and tackle helps teammates get to the ball carriers.
“It’s a battle, every play, on the line,” said Malin. “I expect a battle. I like the challenge.”
Malin was the lone junior starter on the defensive line last year when Rogers won conference and section championships. He made sure he came back stronger and sharper for his senior year.
“Josh works really hard in the off-season in the weight room,” said Franz appreciatively.
Malin, who also lettered in track last spring as a thrower, enjoys the weight workouts conducted by strength coach Ryan LaPointe. His PB’s are 235 pounds on the bench and 350 squat.
Along with defensive line duty, Malin is also alternating with a junior at tight end this year. Franz notes that Malin is a crunching blocker, while surprising agile at getting open.
Malin is the fourth brother to play high school football, and his family has worn all three District 728 uniforms, Dave for Elk River, Joe for Zimmerman, and Tim and Josh for Rogers.
Playing for a team as strong as Rogers (which is 13-3 during his year and a half as a starter) with big crowds every Friday night, Malin says he doesn’t have any particular game as a highlight. “I like all of them. I just enjoy playing football.”
THE MALIN SCORECARD
Personal file — Age: 17 … Family: parents Julie Mattson and James Malin; brothers David, 27; Joe, 25; and Tim, 19; sisters Sarah, 24, and Adina, 15 … Sports: football, track … College plans: undecided where, undecided major, maybe football
Favorite stuff — Class: Team Sports in P.E. … TV show: “Blue Mountain State” … Movies: anything with Will Ferrell …. Music: country, especially Toby Keith … Food: pepperoni pizza … Drink: blue Gatorade …. Reading: Sports Illustrated …. Teams: Vikings, Longhorns …. Athlete: Jared Allen