Players of the Pine Belt: Bay Springs running back/linebacker Malaki Page
BAY SPRINGS, Miss. (WDAM) - When Dan Brady arrived in Bay Springs 10 years ago, 39 kids came out for summer workouts.
The Bulldogs are up to 72 this year – a testament to what Brady’s built in Jasper County.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of kids out here, great players but there’s also some kids that need football more than football needs them,” Brady said. “And we try to be that, give them some identity and to be a part of something, something to be proud of.
“I don’t talk about culture a lot, but we do have a culture, and it’s a culture of working hard, doing what you’re supposed to do and competing on the field.”
No Bulldog embodies the culture more than junior running back/linebacker Malaki Page.
Page was a key piece in Bay Springs back-to-back state titles, but took a bit of a backseat to Ty Jones and A.J. Ross – the last two state championship MVPs.
Now is Page’s time.
“I’ve been waiting on this role ever since my ninth-grade year,” Page said. “I just gotta do what I gotta do.”
“Malaki’s carries are going to triple this year,” Brady said. “I think last year he had about 70. I expect Malaki to be a 200-220 carry on the year. Malaki works really really hard in the weight room, he’s a tough runner. He’s a guy we can count on and a guy we go to when the game’s on the line.”
He certainly fits the mold at 6-foot, 205 pounds – already drawing an offer from Ole Miss.
But it takes more than physical attributes to run the football at Bay Springs.
“We’re hungry, gotta eat,” Page said. “We’re going to constantly run the ball, constantly run it, wear teams down.”
Page and his teammates are hard at work this summer so they can make another deep run in November.
“They want to prove people wrong,” Brady said. “A lot of people say we lost too much, a lot of people say we don’t have the talent we did. But these kids come to work every day and get after it. The kids know what’s gotta happen. They know the recipe for success to win a state championship.”
“We lost a lot of good guys,” Page said. “We got some more coming back that are just filling in spots. We combine, come together and win games, becoming a brotherhood and just show everybody what we’re made of.”
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