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After being on a state finalist in Kentucky, Rider feels more like a winner at Nixa

NIXA' MALACHI RIDER follows the blocking of Ethan Cho during a run at Joplin.
NIXA' MALACHI RIDER follows the blocking of Ethan Cho during a run at Joplin.

Malachi Rider was part of a Class 3A state runner-up team at Paducah Tilghman (Kentucky) his sophomore season. But he reports he’s enjoying his senior season at Nixa more than he did his three years with the Blue Tornado.

Rider and Tilghman made an incredible post-season run two years ago, before falling 33-28 to Belfry in the Bluegrass State's 3A title tilt. The Blue Tornado entered the post-season with a 4-6 record, before winning four playoff games and finishing with an 8-7 mark.

During Rider’s junior season last year, Tilghman finished 6-7.

“Yes and no,” Rider said when asked if he came from a winning program at Paducah, before transferring to Nixa this year. “We made it to the state finals, but had a big losing streak before that. We played a very hard schedule.”

Upon emerging at Nixa, no transfer in SWMO has made a bigger impact this season than Rider. He tops the Eagles with 10 touchdown runs, helping them to their current perch alone atop the COC with a 5-0 record.

Rider’s season totals also include 63 carries for 561 yards. He’s reached 100 yards rushing in four games.

The consistently outstanding Rider is enjoying being on a consistent winner.

“This is the winningest team I've been on,” he said. “It’s a lot better to win. All we do is win.

“Also, we’re more of a running team here,” he added. “I like being on a running team. I’m happy.”

Rider’s senior season has also been rewarding simply by being on the gridiron, after he had his junior season cut short due to a dislocated elbow.

“I wasn’t confident enough (about the elbow) to come back,” he said. “But I came back and won my second state (wrestling) title and got my confidence back.”