Jennifer Hoffer – Sports Writer –
Jack Mallis, sophomore running back for the Owls, grew up in Windham, Maine where he attended Windham High School, and also where he grew to love the game of football.
Both of Mallis’ grandfathers were involved in football and Mallis said that is where he got the love of the game from.
“One of my grandfather’s coached at a high school in Maine and then went on to coach at University of Maine,” Mallis said. “My grandfather on my dad’s side actually played at Yale. So football was really the one thing I did and was engaged in more than anything else.”
University of Maine was one of the School’s Mallis applied to along with Southern. But Mallis said he chose Southern over the school his grandfather coached at because Southern seemed to have more interest in him.
“They offered me a good amount of money,” Mallis said. “So, to me, that was kind of a proving point that they really wanted me. I came down here to meet the coaches and see the facilities and really liked it, so I decided to come down here and play.”
Mallis has been hoping to show off skills the past two years he has been here, but has been battling injuries for most of his Southern career so far.
“Freshman year in the spring I pulled my hamstring,” Mallis said. “Than I hurt my ankle the coming fall. This past spring I tore my PCL and meniscus in my left knee. It’s been the hardest thing to deal with but I feel healthy now.”
During his time in high school Mallis’ team won the championship game his senior year.
Mallis also swept up a few awards in high school, winning MVP of Maine, and Gatorade Player of the Year.
“I had a lot of success up there,” Mallis said. “I ran for 2,000 yards and caught 32 touchdowns and ended up being all-state. After having losing seasons my first two years we ended up having a few successful years.”
Mallis said there are plenty of things he can improve on regarding his individual game. He said he wants to become faster and stronger so he can get as many carries and reps as he possibly can at the running back postion.
“I not only want to be able to excel at my school,” Mallis said, “but I want to excel in our conference and the nation, too.”
Teammates, Jacob Jablownski and Willie Epps said it has been a true pleasure playing alongside a player like Mallis.
Jablonski said he brings fire and excitement to the team.
He said Mallis leads by example by being very confident on a consistent basis.
“Jack’s desire to be the best and work harder than every person is truly admirable,” Jablownski said. “Jack is always positive even when our backs have been up against the wall.”
Epps said Mallis is the definition of a hard worker and a great student athlete.
“He gives the team a lot of character and every and that’s always needed in any program no matter what the sport is.”
The Owls have struggled the past few seasons and Jablownski and Mallis are hoping to turn the losing seasons into winning seasons starting this season.
“We were young last year,” Mallis said. “So we have a lot of opportunity to get better as a team. You can really only go up from here. I think within the next two seasons, we’re going to have a good team. Our goal is to get to the conference championship and I think we will have that ability with our dedicated and hardworking players here.”
Jablonski said that in order for the team to be successful, having confidence is key in every aspect of life.
“If we can perform at a high level with a high confidence level, everything else will take care of itself,” Jablonski said.