Cougars’ Maloof has eye for daylight

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Whenever Sam Maloof detects the slightest opening, the Vernon Hills running back usually makes the most of it.

During Friday’s 22-10 loss to visiting Antioch, the 6-foot, 185-pound senior collected 78 yards on 10 carries. Most of the damage was done in the blink of an eye.

“Sam ran hard, and he found some seams to bust through,” VH coach Tony Monken said. “When he gets to the hole, he runs through it quickly.”

Maloof is not interested in collecting style points.

“I just try to stay on my feet as long as I can,” Maloof said. “I hope to get that extra push and get some extra yards for my team.”

Cougars quarterback Brett Peterson is happy to have Maloof in the backfield.

“Sam is one of those players who plays hard on every play, whether he’s getting the ball or not,” Peterson said. “He always runs north-south, and he fights for every extra yard.”

Peterson, who leads the team’s option attack, is not reluctant to pitch the ball to Maloof.

“It’s definitely nice to know I have someone to give it to,” Peterson said. “I know Sam will always get positive yardage.”

In many instances, VH’s 1-2 punch has been problematic for opposing defenses.

“People have been trying to take Sam out of the last couple of games,” Monken said. “Brett had some good runs (vs. Antioch). Defenses might try to take Brett out of the game, which will open things up for Sam.”

Maloof believes that Peterson’s athleticism is bound to help the running back’s numbers.

“Brett will draw attention to himself,” Maloof said. “If they key on him, he can pitch it to one of the backs.”

As soon as the ball is snapped, Maloof and the other running backs are in chase mode.

“Brett is very quick, so you have to keep up with him or you will lose him (on the perimeter),” Maloof said. “(The RBs) have to make sure we’re always at full speed.”

Maloof still is searching for his first touchdown of 2012. Peterson believes that stat line will change in the near future.

“I’ve been scoring a lot,” Peterson noted. “Teams will start keying on me, which will open things up for Sam.”

Maloof enjoys running behind the offensive line of Nick Saliba, Greg Randall, Jeremy Babicz, Chris Lannan and Matt Kahn.

“They really push guys back, which creates a lane for me,” he said. “It helps to have your vision beyond the line of scrimmage.”

When Maloof isn’t on the football field, he likes to spend time with friends and family. But his desire to improve usually leads him to a particular destination.

“I usually go to the gym to work out,” he said. ~.

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