LOWVILLE As the older brother by nine minutes, Cameron Malik isnt opposed to telling younger twin Kyle Malik what he did wrong on a certain play.
Its just kind of sibling stuff, you know, Cameron said. We dont criticize each other too much. We just try to be positive and help each other out as much as we can.
For Lowville football opponents, having to deal with the Malik brothers on the field is becoming something of a nightmare. It may appear at times that there are four or five of them instead of just two because of how many positions they can play, and how often they make big plays on both sides of the ball.
As Lowville coach Josh Coffman said, Its a luxury to have two kids like that who can do so many things. As a coach, it sure makes me look good.
On the offense, Kyle, a 6-foot, 155-pound senior, is playing mainly running back this season after being used primarily as a wide receiver a year ago. Coffman wants to take advantage of his breakaway ability and unique skills with more touches from scrimmage.
Last year, Kyle gained 139 yards on 28 carries, and caught nine passes for 353 yards. He also scored nine touchdowns in a variety of ways.
Cameron, a little smaller at 6-foot, 145 pounds, plays slotback in the Red Raiders offense. He has the ability to get down field as a pass receiver, or carry the ball on reverses and inside trap plays.
In Lowvilles opening 47-14 win over Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, Kyle scored on a 22-yard run and Cameron had a 12-yard TD from scrimmage. Kyle also caught seven passes for 115 yards, while Cameron kicked five extra points.
Coffman said both brothers bring a little different style to the field.
Kyle is a little more right at you, a little more physical, Coffman said. Hes just a tough, hard-nosed kid.
Coffman describes Cameron as a gifted athlete who can just beat you with his physical ability.
One thing Coffman wants to do more often this year is get them in space and then let them create. Thats when they are at their best.
Coffman said when he looked at the stats after last season and saw that Kyle had score nine touchdowns on just 43 touches from scrimmage, it showed that I was an idiot for not getting him the ball more often.
This year, Coffman is using the bubble screen with regularity to put the ball in the Maliks hands and let them do their thing.
Anything we can do to help the team, Cameron said. We know our job is to make big plays and to make our offense productive. We just try to use our natural ability to make things happen.
On defense, Kyle plays outside linebacker after being mainly a defensive back a year ago.
Hes more like a hybrid free safety who can play the run or pass effectively all over the field, Coffman said.
Cameron is Lowvilles free safety, ranging all over the field
But offense and defense is just a part of what they do. Cameron is also the teams punter and placekicker. And both are among the top players in Section 3 returning punts and kickoffs.
We just like to be on the field, Kyle said. We take pride in the fact that we can help the team at a lot of different positions.
Coffman, a sixth-grade teacher, said he noticed the Maliks potential early on. Them and kids like Billy Larkins and Isaac Widrick, who are also now seniors, really stood out, Coffman said.
Lowville assistant coach Rob Goss said the thing he has noticed about the Maliks through their progression up the ranks is they are old-school kids, throwbacks who love the sport and the competition. And that really shows on how they practice, how they play and have respect for the sport.
Said Kyle: The competition is why we play sports. Not just with my brother and my teammates, but with everybody we face. Its what drives us to work hard and get better.
Coffman said their personalities are also a big different. Cameron is a little more talkative, a little more vocal. Kyle is just a natural leader, but hes not a real vocal kid. He just shows it with his play on the field.
They are concentrating on helping bring Lowville a Section 3 Class C North crown, and perhaps make an appearance in the Section 3 finals at the Carrier Dome.
That would be a great way to finish our careers because thats where we started last year (in a nonleague game), Cameron said.