All-County fall sports teams announced
Lackey senior back rushes for over 2,000 yards in 2016
Prior to the 2016 season, Lackey head football coach John Lush and offensive coordinator Jimari Jones believed that they needed a big running back to go with all five of the team’s returning offensive lineman.
Jones referenced the 6-foot1, 210-pound former Patuxent running back Rafiq Douglas as a player who was always tough to game plan against.
So with an offensive line that could possibly wear down opposing teams in the fourth quarter, having a power back of that caliber would be a bonus late in games.
After two scrimmages, Lush and the Lackey coaching staff eventually found a similar dia- mond in the rough in the back- field: 6-foot-2 235 pound Malik Burns.
“We worked with a number of kids, but it was clear from the first scrimmage that Malik was more much more than a 5- to 7-carry back,” said Lush refer- ring to Burns, a senior who had only played a bit of fullback on junior varsity as a sophomore. “In our two scrimmages, he had eight carries for 235 yards and five touchdowns. Once he got to the second level, people were literally moving out of the way instead of trying to tackle him.”
Burns went on to have a monster season as he rushed for 2,290 yards to go along with 26 touchdowns, leading Lackey to a dramatic turnaround season, finishing 8-3 overall, 5-1 in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division, while earning a playoff berth in the Class 2A South Region playoffs.
Burns, the Chargers’ special ingredient to the rushing attack, was named All-SMAC Most Outstanding Player in football and is this year’s All-County football Athlete of the Year for his efforts.
Coming into the fall, Burns was projected to start at defensive end on the other side of senior teammate Nate Proctor, but he realized he wouldn’t be playing much on the defensive side of the ball and became the third rusher in school history to top 2,000 yards in a single season.
“It feels great to see that all my hard work and I just have to thank my front five for all of my success due to the fact that they created the holes for me,” said Burns, who had six 200-plus yard games on the season. “I never thought that I would have
a season like this.”
The Chargers starting offensive linemen, consisting of senior James Tunstall, and juniors Elijah Lane, Willie Borden, Lydell Washington and Dontrel Thompson, weighed under an average of just 300 pounds.
Despite running behind an offensive line that had size and athleticism, not just any running back could’ve been as dominant as Burns this season.
What made Burns special, according to Lush, was a combination of size, deceptive speed and strength, mixed with a physical stature and mindset of an outside linebacker — making him a nightmare for opposing defenses.
“Malik has always been one of the most athletic and dynamic players in our program,” Lush said. “During his career, he played defensive line, inside, outside linebacker, wide receiv- er, tight end, fullback and run- ning back.”
In the season-ending 28-14 loss to host Patuxent in the 2A South Region semifinals on Nov. 11, Burns not only rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns, but he completed 2 of 3 passes for 63 yards at quar- terback in the final game of his high school career.
“It was just great coaching and I would have to thank coach Jones for teaching me and keeping me very versatile,” Burns said.
On Burns’ versatility, Lush said, “In the last game of the year he took 90 percent of the snaps at quarterback. In my 12 years in this conference, I can’t ever remember a kid being that versatile. That speaks to his athleticism and his willingness to be coached and do whatever is in the best interest of the team. Every game he thanked his offensive line. He is extremely unselfish.”
After being dedicated to the gym, weights to go along with a protein-packed diet, Burns noted how the offseason and keeping his body well-conditioned.
“I just lifted weights, ran hills, drank my protein shakes and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” said Burns. “Every day I would do as many pushups as I can.”
Despite all the success on the field, Burns has improved in the classroom, raising his GPA to a 2.81 thus far. A bit of a late bloomer in his football career, Burns has garnered NCAA Division I interests from 12 FCS schools.
Lackey senior Malik Burns, pictured here in last weekend’s Chick-fil-A Challenge, rushed for over 2,000 yards this fall, becoming the third Charger in the program’s history to do so.
Lackey senior Malik Burns, pictured here in a Sept. 16 contest versus St. Charles, iss the All-County Athlete of the Year for football. He also picked up the honor as the All-SMAC Most Outstanding Player.