Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography                                Eastside Catholic Crusaders safety Malik Putney, right, makes a tackle against the O’Dea Fighting Irish in a contest earlier this season.

Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography Eastside Catholic Crusaders safety Malik Putney, right, makes a tackle against the O’Dea Fighting Irish in a contest earlier this season.

Putney patrols the secondary with passion

The last line of defense for the Eastside Catholic Crusaders football team packs a powerful punch.

Crusaders’ senior safety Malik Putney is the heart and soul of a Crusaders defense that has completely throttled opponents since the second week of the 2017 season. Putney is fearless in run support and is one of the most formidable hitters I’ve seen all year on the gridiron. Since the summer of 2017, I’ve conducted interviews with Putney on three separate occasions and each time I have encountered the star defensive back, the adjective that comes to mind to describe him consists of just one word, “intensity.”

Putney exudes confidence and command at all times. In my opinion, he is the Crusaders’ version of Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. He just seems to be everywhere between the white lines. While Putney rarely plays on the offensive side of the ball, he also is the Crusaders’ top punt returner and is truly electrifying when the ball gets into his hands.

In the regular season finale against Roosevelt, Putney dropped deep to return punts multiple times but hardly received any opportunities to make a splash in the return game. A multitude of punts sailed out of bounds, leaving Putney visibly frustrated. On one instance, as another punt sailed harmlessly to the sidelines, he extended his arms to his teammates with a look of disgust.

Putney just wanted an opportunity to make plays and help his team win.

The passion and edge Putney brings to the Crusaders is undeniable. I played sports my entire life and I know firsthand having teammates who bring that kind of grit, passion and all-out effort is inspiring. It makes a difference in how teams practice, how they prepare and how they perform when it counts on Friday/Saturday nights. When someone sees a teammate lay everything on the line for the squad, they will do the same for them. That bond creates an unbreakable brotherhood that translates into success. Players don’t want to let their comrades down and will give it absolutely everything they have.

It is one reason why NFL legend Brett Favre is one of my favorite players of all time. Favre wasn’t the best quarterback to play the game (NFL league leader in interceptions) and he surely made his share of crucial mistakes in the playoffs, but his teammates would do anything for him because of the toughness (296 consecutive starts) and intangibles he brought to the field and to the locker room.

The Crusaders are three games away from a state championship. Eastside Catholic won back-to-back state titles in 2014 and 2015 but were eliminated in the Class 3A semifinals in November 2016. During spring practice this past June, Putney shared his goals for the 2017 season.

“We don’t want to feel the same pain as we did last year losing to Kamiakin in the semifinals. I know that my fellow seniors and I want to bring back that state championship our senior year. We want to leave a legacy for the younger guys so they can have something to look forward to and know what hard work and dedication gets you,” Putney said on June 16.

Any team that faces the Crusaders this postseason will undoubtedly have to game-plan for No. 3 (Putney) roaming the secondary. I wouldn’t be surprised if Putney’s aspirations of a state championship for his team come true at the Tacoma Dome on Dec. 1.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Sports

Courtesy of Calder Productions
Girls basketball: Mt. Si beats Issaquah in conference action

Mount Si High School beat Issaquah 68-59 at home Jan. 5 in… Continue reading

file photo
Health department: COVID outbreaks linked to high school wrestling tournaments

At least 80 cases are tied to the events which included attendees from multiple counties and states.

Photo courtesy of Panthers Youth Rugby
Panthers Youth Rugby rolls into action

Panthers Youth Rugby is encouraging boys and girls in middle school and… Continue reading

Photo of Eastlake Little League’s All Star Team. From L to R: (Back row) Jackson Wheeler, Kellen Kinney, Sanath Chari, James Ort III, Sule Tian, Eli Jones, Pryce Eadon. (Front row) JJ Hamiltion, Sawyer Todd, Ryder Oswalt, Walter Steinbok, Logan Rausch, Harrison Militello. Photo Courtesy of Jeff Steinbok.
Eastlake’s time at Little League World Series comes to an end

The boys of Eastlake Little League’s 12U all-star team’s time at the… Continue reading

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Teaser
Eastlake all-stars score spot in Little League World Series

Eastlake Little League’s 12U all star team was crowned Northwest Regional Champions… Continue reading

Screenshot of video obtained by Redmond police shows Richard Sherman trying to break into the Redmond home of his in-laws.
Former Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman charged with five misdemeanors in King County

Charges were filed following an incident at home of Sherman’s in-laws in Redmond.

Screenshot
Redmond Police arrest former Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman

Redmond Police allege former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman crashed into a… Continue reading

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

t
Issaquah notches girls soccer victory

Issaquah’s girls soccer team celebrates a goal during its 4-0 victory over… Continue reading

t
Registration open for Panthers Youth Rugby

By Sophie Demandolx Special to the Reporter If you are a teenager… Continue reading

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports