MAQUOKETA – Maliki Wilson studied the tapes of NFL greats like Walter Payton and Barry Sanders. Their reads, their cuts and their moves.
Man, those moves.
"I watch a lot of film of Walter Payton. I watch the way Barry Sanders used to cut back against the field,” said Wilson, Xavier's 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior running back. “My dad helps me study a lot.”
Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and Walter and Barry would have been flattered by Wilson's deft impressions of their Hall of Fame running styles Friday night.
Xavier took full control of the Class 3A, District 4 race with the dynamic and razzle-dazzling Wilson putting on a 191-yard, four-touchdown rushing clinic in the Saints' drama-less 42-13 victory over Maquoketa at Goodenow Field.
“He is a student of the game. He has a great love of the game,” Xavier coach Duane Schulte said.