Los Angeles High school junior, Malike Simpson is a key contributor for the football team. In their 44-0 win over Roybal on Friday, he made nine rushes for 119 yards and two touchdowns along with four catches for 104 yards. His efforts earned him Maxpreps Offensive Player of the Game honors.
This marks his first year playing on the varsity level, he was too young to play as a freshman and COVID stole his sophomore season. During the quarantine, Simpson and his friends would practice at Rancho Cienega Park and his uncle took him to the Culver City stairs to train.
Simpson enjoys the onus of being a wide receiver as he wants to make a difference on the team.
“I like having the ball in my hands,” he said. “Whenever I touch the ball, I get to make a play.”
A challenge for Simpson is playing at the cornerback position; it isn’t his primary position, but he gets better at being a corner through reps.
“I was a little bit worried,” Simpson said. “I’ve been working on it and varsity, they got some big dudes. But I had to overcome that and I’ve been doing pretty good.”
Through football, Simpson learned the importance of persevering through challenges.
“Say if we lose a game, never give up. There’s more games,” he said. “You can carry that over into life.”
Simpson also works hard to balance his academics and athletics as he endured through Zoom learning last year and the transition back into in-person learning. His favorite class is history.
“It seems like every year, I do good in history,” Simpson said. “I don’t believe I’ve ever failed history or had a bad grade in history throughout these high school years. Right now, I’m taking world history.”
Simpson also enjoys exercising and has an interest in boxing. Being an upperclassman, he is a leader to the younger players in the team. He knows how to get the best out of his teammates.
“That’s why building a bond with your team is so important,” Simpson said. “Once your build a bond with them, you’ll know how they will respond and how they will act.”
Simpson aspires to play in the NFL and have a career managing talent like recording artists or professional athletes. A short-term goal of his is to compete in Track and Field later in the school year.