Southwest DeKalb’s Ken Malcome, who is committed to Georgia, made his case for the state’s best running back in the 21-7 win over Marist on Friday.
Despite sitting out the fourth quarter with leg cramps, Malcome finished with 22 carries for 182 yards and one touchdown for Southwest (7-1), which is ranked No. 3 in Class AAAA.
It was a signature moment for Malcome, who has often played in the shadows of one of his best friends from childhood, Florida-bound Mack Brown of M.L. King. Malcome scored Southwest’s first touchdown on a blazing 74-yard run in the first quarter, and he set up the second one by carrying 9 out of 13 plays on a game-winning drive to open the second half.
“This is a big win for our program,” said Southwest defensive end T.J. Stripling, who is also committed to Georgia. “Marist always has a great team, and they’ve gotten the best of us the last couple of years. If we’re going to compete for the state championship, then we needed this win. And we got it.”
No. 5 Marist (6-2), which finished as the state runner-up last year, managed to stay within a touchdown entering the final quarter, thanks to a scrappy performance by its defense. However, the War Eagles struggled on offense in the pouring rain, never threatening to score after halftime.
When Malcome hobbled to the sidelines with two minutes left in the third quarter, Southwest turned to two others on its all-star roster of college prospects. Marques Dixon, who has an offer from Southern Miss, had an electrifying 43-yard run in the fourth quarter to set up Southwest’s clinching score.
Four plays later, Jonathon Mincy ran to his left, found nothing there, and then cut back toward the other direction for a dazzling 20-yard touchdown play. Mincy has pledged to Auburn at defensive back.
“I saw an opening in the middle, so I went for it,” Mincy said. “[Malcome] is our workhorse, but other players have to pick it up when he’s out.”
However, Malcome left some highlight plays on the field before he departed. On the 74-yard run, Malcome danced outside, and then outran the Marist secondary to the end zone.
On Southwest’s second score, quarterback Steve Coates faked a handoff to Malcome, who drew the attention of Marist’s entire defense. Coates then sprinted untouched for the 1-yard touchdown around the end.