GUERNSEY – Justin Malcom has lived all his life in the small town of Guernsey. He has been an athlete all his life, and this year there is a very special accolade that has been given him.
Malcom has been chosen to fill a spot for the Wyoming all-stars in the 10th annual 6-Man Wyoming-Nebraska All-Star Football Game Friday, June 4 at Chadron State University in Chadron, NE at 7 p.m. The game will feature senior all stars from Wyoming versus senior all stars from Nebraska. Wyoming currently leads the series 5-4.
“I had a lot of mentors growing up,” Malcom said. “My mom (Daphne Malcom) was my first teacher, and then one of the most important mentors in my life would have to be Mr. Faber who was my first football coach. He had a big impact on me and made me love the game and got me started on it. Actually, he got me hooked on it. And Mr. Reichert, he’s the one who really made me get into defense and going out there and hitting people. Just the mindset of stopping the ball. And Mr. Cook my coach for the last four years.”
Malcom does that effectively for the Vikings and is one of the hardest hitters the team has. When Malcom makes a tackle, the crowd gasps at the fierceness of the hit. Not only the force, but the timing and speed with which he makes the play is astounding.
Malcom started playing football in sixth grade.
“I always loved watching football before, but my mom never let me play before sixth grade because she was afraid of me getting hurt,” Malcom said. “I remember my very first practice, we started out with the snake drill, and this is what you did all practice. You had somebody leading the pack and all of you just run for like 30 minutes straight. You got a break and then went back into it.”
From first practices to first games, most kids don’t remember, but Malcom is not most kids.
“I remember our first game,” he said. “It was kind of a crazy one because my best friend Brock Hohnholt, the day before that game, we were out playing on the tennis courts in front of the school just messin’ around. He was on the net and got rocked off of it and broke his skull and had internal bleeding in his brain and so he wasn’t allowed to play until sophomore year. It was kinda rough. We went up to Kaycee to play.”
It’s ironic that the very first game Malcom remembers the injury to his best friend and how that somehow tainted the experience. This year, history eerily repeated itself as his very last season had him watching that same best friend shut away in quarantine and unable to play.
Most that know both student athletes know that Hohnholt, had he played all season would be making this trip to Chadron with Malcom. Hohnholt IS that good. But just as it started, having to play without his best friend, he is ending his high school career the same way.
Varsity football coach Curtis Cook who has seen Malcom develop in high school was ecstatic when he found out that he would be playing in the all-star game.
“I can’t say enough about Justin,” Cook said. “He’s been such an incredible kid and so enjoyable to coach. Never once have I had a discipline problem with him. He has a great understanding of the game and if I need something done, I know he can get it done. He is one of our hardest hitters and he is so fast. That plays well with his timing on his hits. I can remember watching him and realizing that a kid that fast has got to play somewhere, and he’s played for us all four years.”
Malcom says that of all the games he’s played, he remembers one in particular which was against NSI.
“It was my sophomore year, and they were the No. 5 seed in the state,” Malcom said. “We were going in as the underdog and we beat them. I can remember the whole bus ride up their coach was drilling it into our heads that we have to upset them, and we did.”
When he first heard about being selected to the team, Malcom, a soft-spoken, mild-mannered kid got pretty excited.
“I was thrilled,” he said. “I mean, in 2014 we won the state championship here and we got to host that game here in 2015. Ever since then, watching all those Guernsey players out there, that’s all I’ve wanted out of football, was, at the end of the day to be selected for that and to be considered one of the best players in the state, at least in 1A.”
Malcom said that if he had an offer to play in college, he wouldn’t turn that down, but to date has not heard anything from any collegiate program. For him not to be playing on a collegiate football field would be a term placed in the dictionary defining the term “a shame.” He has the speed, the fierce and fearless ability and the desire.
According to Scott Reed, assistant football coach at Farson-Eden, “I’m not sure exactly how the game got started. Barry Swisher from Lusk is our contact and sets it up every year. It was set up to rotate each year where the Nebraska State Champion hosted the game and the next year the Wyoming State Champion hosts. The first game was played in 2012 in Arthur, Nebraska. It rotated like I mentioned for 7 years.
“Then Chadron State wanted to host it. They were trying to get it to a bigger venue and centrally locate it since so many Nebraska kids were coming from the eastern side of Nebraska and the Wyoming team was traveling to the eastern side of Nebraska. I coached in the game the first year in Chadron. Great venue and they did a great job of hosting it. Then last year due to COVID-19 Chadron State could not host it so they moved the game to Harrison Nebraska. Not sure yet how COVID-19 will affect the game this year as things can change so quickly. Hopefully things continue to improve and we can have somewhat of a normal All-Star experience for these kids. Here are the yearly results and where the game was played.”
Previous games played:
2012 Arthur, NE.
2013 Dubois, WY.
2014 Bladen, NE.
2015 Guernsey, WY.
2016 Albion, NE.
2017 Kaycee, WY.
2018 Albion, NE.
2019 Chadron State University
2020 Harrison, NE.
Roster for Wyoming
Triston Lamorie Farson-Eden
Parker Clawson Farson-Eden
Carson Jones Farson-Eden
Colby Jones Farson-Eden
Zander Reed Farson-Eden
Trea Denny Farson-Eden
Colin Malec Farson-Eden
Dalton Peterson Encampment
Gideon George Burlington
Hadley Abarr Meeteetse
Tozai May Meeteetse
Dale McBride Meeteetse
Justin Malcom Guernsey-Sunrise
Nathan Largent Kaycee
Rhys Stafford Kaycee
Dylan Fauber Kaycee
Joseph Kennah Hulett
Devon Grosstick HEM
Trip Applequist- Farson-Eden High School-Head Coach
Scott Reed- Farson-Eden High School-Assistant Coach
Dave Largent-Kaycee High School-Assistant Coach
Zeb Hagen-Meeteetse High School-Assistant Coach