CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The popular phrase dictates, "Don't rock the boat," but Greenbrier West football rocks the Boatwright.
The Class A Cavaliers have one of the state's most touted runners in senior Malik Boatwright.
Also a state champion wrestler, Boatwright rushed for 1,650 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, according to statistics at www.maxpreps.com, in a quarterback/running back split role. This season, he's prepared to build on those numbers.
Boatwright's success and ability to deflect would-be tacklers begins with his tenacious effort, a requirement to overcome his lack of size.
"Malik's about 160, 165 pounds, 5-foot-5, maybe 5-foot-6, but strong as an ox," Greenbrier West Coach Lewis McClung said. "He runs hard. He also has that shiftiness too. He's an elusive runner and he also has quite a bit of power, so he's a pretty good combination."
For Boatwright, it's all about the mentality and desire to succeed, something he carries with him from the wrestling mat.
"I have to take the same attitude with football as I do with wrestling," Boatwright said. "You just have to win. You have to want it. You take that same approach and you'll be all right."
The attitude remains constant for Boatwright, but his position on the offense varies throughout the game.
"He's primarily under center," McClung said, referring to Boatwright as quarterback. "We have sets that we put him in, in shotgun, some triple option sort of stuff, but we're primarily under center. We run an old offense called an I-bone, which really is a variation of an option.
"We run a lot of option football. We still like to line up and run some power football as well. We worked with Malik at quarterback out of just because of his athleticism. We like to have him there at quarterback, but he would be a great tailback."
In fact, McClung said he'll rotate Boatwright in the tailback position every two or three offensive series.
Whether between the tackles or at the edge, Boatwright possesses the skills and the moves to evade the defense.
"He's effective outside because he has this shiftiness to him," McClung said. "He is just as strong up the middle. He can run an iso play as well as a 220-pound back does, too. He's well adapted in both areas."