Through the uprights: Adam Sullivan 10/7
By Adam Sullivan PrepsKC staff writer
As I began to write this column, I started thinking of all the moments Andre Maloney stood out to me. The list I came up with was overwhelming. That is no surprise if you ever had the chance to watch him play.
While I could go on and list 100 times Maloney impressed me on the field, it was the one time he impressed me off the field that stood out the most. I covered several of West’s games the last three seasons, many of which the Vikings won which left me to interview the MVP of the winning team. Often times that man was Andre Maloney. Every single time I interviewed him he called me sir. Every response was yes sir, no sir and thank you sir. He was an unbelievably humble and respectful kid that you had no other option but to root for him. He didn’t demand respect but earned it.
Maloney tragically passed away on Friday after suffering a stroke in the Vikings game Thursday night. After leading West to a 6A state championship last season as a junior, Maloney was set to go to Lawrence, Kan., next season and play for the University of Kansas. KU head coach Charlie Weis took to twitter like many others after hearing the tragic news. Weis tweeted out the following:
“We are absolutely devastated by the news of the passing of Andre Maloney. Our hearts are broken at the loss of such an outstanding young man. Our thoughts and prayers are with this family, especially his mother, Rosalita. We knew from the moment we met Andre just how special he was and he will never be forgotten.”
KU held a moment of silence for Maloney before their game against Texas Tech.
Weis wasn’t the only coach who shared his condolinces and memories of Maloney on twitter. Former West assistant coach and current Shawnee Mission South head coach Ryan Lonergan shared his memories of coaching Maloney as a freshman.
“Can’t stop thinking about Andre in the cheetah formation. Smoothest and toughest guy to tackle just wouldn’t go down. He was so fast! Andre was a very smart player! Never made the same mistake twice.”
Lonergan went on to say:
“In a freshman game against Blue Valley North, Andre scored on a kickoff return, jet sweep, punt return, and caught a pass for a TD all in the first quarter.”
One of the many players to tweet about Maloney after the news was Lawrence Free State senior Joe Dineen. Dineen and Maloney were set to be teammates next year at Kansas. Dineen tweeted the following:
“There is so much competition in this league and we don’t get along when we’re playing, but when a player goes down, we come together.” He later states “We had to put two people on him (Maloney) just so he didn’t burn our whole team. What a great player. “
The outpouring of support for Maloney was evident on Friday night as several schools had a moment of silence before their game and many student sections had signs with the number 29 or signs that said they support Shawnee Mission West.
When the 2013 season began every team across the nation was playing for the hopes of a state championship. Players were dreaming of receiving college offers or scoring a game-winning touchdown etc. After this tragedy that focus has shifted. We’ve been reminded that football is just a game and that we need to make every moment count in life because you don’t know when it’s going to end. Teams are no longer playing just for themselves and a hope for a state championship they’re now playing for a kid that many of them never knew they’re playing for Andre.
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