Name: Malik Stanback
Fall Sport: Football
Position: Wide Receiver
Years on Varsity: 2 years
Height & Weight: 6’1”/180 lbs.
Experience: 9 years (began playing football when he was eight years old)
Malik Stanback has been named the Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week presented by the Richmond Observer. Stanback had a huge game Friday night against Sandhills Athletic Conference opponent Seventy-First High School, which helped propel his team into the No. 2 spot in SAC standings.
RSHS Academics: Stanback is an A-B honor student who understands the necessity to perform well in the classroom. He’s currently enrolled in all Honors courses at Richmond, including Math III and Advanced Manufacturing, two classes that he really enjoys.
“I like math because I’m able to see the problems and work them out,” Stanback said, making a connection to the football field. “And in Advanced Manufacturing, I recently got OSHA certified, which is pretty cool.”
Stanback also noted that he has football head coach Bryan Till for his strength training class, and says that the goal is always to “get bigger in the weight room” to be stronger on Friday nights.
RSHS Sports: A three-sport athlete, Stanback in involved in Richmond athletics year round. In the winter, he’s a member of the basketball team. As a freshman and junior, he played small forward for junior varsity, but his hope this year is to be an asset on the varsity team.
He’s also a member of the track and field team in the spring, where he participates in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, as well as the 4×1 and 4×2 relays. When asked what event he likes most, Stanback said he enjoys being the anchor runner on the 4×2 relay team.
Extracurricular Activities: Because he’s so involved in sports at Richmond, Stanback doesn’t have a lot of extra time to participate in school clubs or groups. But one that he does enjoy being a part of is the African American History Club, headed by one of his teachers, Cherice Washington.
When asked what about the club he likes, Stanback said he enjoys all the fun the group has going on college visits and having group movie nights. He said that the club has taught him a lot, and he’s glad to be a part of it.
In the community, Stanback is a member of Poplar Springs Baptist Church in East Rockingham. He’s a member of the church’s choir, despite not the best singer, he added with a chuckle.
Hobbies: The first thing Stanback said he enjoys most when he’s away from the football field is working out. He has a workout bench at home and said that he’s always trying to get bigger and stronger.
Stanback also said he just enjoys downtime with friends and family. He loves to eat, watch television and movies, and play video games. He also said that when he hangs out with his friends and teammates, he always tries to keep them out of trouble, which is a good quality to have.
College Aspirations: As mentioned earlier, Stanback likes working through difficult problems. He plans to relate this interest into his professional career. Stanback stated that he’s interested in attending North Carolina State University to major in mechanical engineering.
“I really like doing hands-on stuff,” Stanback said. “I like to work with things. And I’m learning a lot of cool things in my Advanced Manufacturing class.”
Stanback said that he’s also keeping his options for playing college football open. He said this year he’s putting his best effort forward so he can get noticed by recruits. Till added that the way Stanback has played so far, as well as how he’ll play the rest of the season, will determine interest from college programs as Stanback enters his senior year. But both player and coach said the outlook is good.
Interesting Fact: Just like several of his teammates who have been featured as the Official Richmond County Athlete of the Week, Stanback has an interesting fact related to watching cartoons. He says his favorite thing to watch is Dragon Ball Z because he like the characters, especially Goku. Stanback says he wishes he could have the superpowers the characters in the show possess.
Mentor: When discussing who his biggest life mentor is, Stanback doesn’t have to stray too far from the football field. He chose current Raiders junior varsity head coach Patrick Hope. While playing football at Rockingham Middle School, where Hope was the head coach, Stanback said his former coach impacted his life tremendously.
“Coach Hope has been with me since the start,” Stanback said smiling. “He’s always been there for me on and off the football field.
“He’s taught me almost everything I know about how to play the game of football,” Stanback added. “We won the championship when I was at Rockingham. It was pretty cool.”
Player of the Week Stats: Stanback was one of several players to have an outstanding game in Friday night’s 25-19 win over Seventy-First High School. In the game’s final minutes, Stanback had two big catches in a two-play, 96-yard drive that led sealed the deal for the Raiders.
His first catch was a 10-yard grab on a curl route. On the next play, he blew past Falcons cornerback Jamies Alston down the left sideline and caught the game-winning 86-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Caleb Hood. Stanback finished the night with five catches for 147 yards and one touchdown.
On the season, Stanback has proven to be the go-to receiver for Hood. Through 10 games, Stanback has gathered 27 receptions for 597 yards, both of which lead the team. He also has team-highs in average yards per catch (22.1 yards/catch) and yards per game (66.3 yards/game). He’s second on the team only to senior Dashaun Wallace in touchdowns with four.
Describe the 86-yard touchdown play against Seventy-First. What’s worked well for you this season?
“I told myself in my mind that we couldn’t lose,” Stanback said. “I beat the corner off the get-go and Caleb (Hood) threw a perfect pass.
“I wanted to work hard and win for the seniors (on senior night),” Stanback added. “And to be honest, I don’t keep up with stats or stuff like that. I just love playing the game of football.”
A big game against Scotland County looms ahead on Friday. What are you and the Raiders doing to prepare for the season finale?
“We’re going to watch film every day,” Stanback stated. “Even in class, when I finish my work, I look at Scotland’s defensive film. I look at how they set up, if they play zone coverage or play up tight on the receiver.
“We have to keep the Raider magic going,” Stanback said of trying to pick up an SAC title on Friday. “We have to believe that anything is possible. If we go out there and have fun, we should be good.”
Coach’s Corner: Till, who is in his inaugural season at the helm of the Raiders program, selected Stanback as the Official Richmond County Male Athlete of the Week because of his growth throughout the season, as well as well as his instrumental performance against Seventy-First.
“Malik had a big game Friday with a lot of receptions,” Till noted of his No. 1 receiver. “But he’s gotten better and better as a kid and a wide receiver. He’s getting more and more consistent, and having fewer missed assignments.
“On kickoffs, he goes down and makes a tackle almost every time,” Till added. “Malik and the kickoff group is a lot of fun to watch. They have really taken ownership of getting their butts down the field to stop the opposing team inside the 20-yard line.
“Malik’s mentality about not caring about the stats and just wanting to make plays tells you a lot about him,” Till concluded.
Look for Stanback on the Richmond Observer’s flagship news program Live at 5, as he’ll be in studio for Wednesday’s edition.