Malik Wilkes is a 17-year-old senior at Mascoutah High School who has seen more of the world than most.
Growing up in a military family, Wilkes arrived in Mascoutah a year ago after living in Japan, Belgium, Germany and France.
“It’s tough to move a lot. You make friends and then you have to leave,” Wilkes said. “But I think its helped me mature faster. It’s taught me that nothing lasts forever.”
Wilkes and fellow military brat Sam Schiller are making the most of their final season of high school soccer. The pair has combined for 40 goals and 29 assists in 14 games in leading Mascoutah to a a 13-1 start to the 2017 season.
Schiller, whose father is in the Air Force, leads the entire St. Louis area in scoring with 61 points on 21 goals and 19 assists. The speedy Wilkes is also in the the top five in points with 48 on 19 goals and 10 assists.
It was Wilkes whose assist in the final five minutes set up the winning goal in the Indians’ 3-2 win over Highland last Thursday. The Indians, whose only loss came against Mississippi Valley Conference rival and league-leading Waterloo, are currently tied with Triad at 3-1 in the MVC championship race.
“It seems like we always have that 10-15 minute part in the second half where I think maybe we get a little gassed. Then the last 10 minutes we turn it back on again. We’ve got to learn to put teams away better,” Wilkes said. “Overall, the transition has gone well. I think we all blend in pretty well. We’re having a great season.”
Led by coach Nick Carr, the Indians are outscoring their 14 opponents by a margin of 83-22.
The season got off to a good start when the Indians won the Adidas Bracket of the Metro Cup Tournament. Outscoring their five opponents 40-1, they capped a memorable week with a 10-0 win over Mount Vernon in the title game.
“Scoring goals hasn’t been an issue. We’ve shown the ability to put the ball in the net,” Carr said. “It hasn’t been all Sam and Malik either. It’s been a team effort. On defense we need to get better, but the mistakes we’re making are things that can be fixed.
“It was great to get off to the start that we did. We lost to Civic Memorial in the title game last year and we made it clear to the team that we expected to win it this year. It was a big boost in confidence not only to win the tournament. But also to play as well as we did.”
The difference in United States and Germany in soccer is that I think here it’s more offensive with a kick-and-run style of play. In Germany, it’s more defensive. It’s a very structured defense as well.
Sam Schiller, Mascoutah senior
Schiller transferred in this year from Colorado Springs, Colo., where his father was stationed. Like Wilkes, the tall, athletic Indians senior, also spent time playing soccer in Germany.
“It’s going well here. I’m having a good time playing soccer and we’re having a lot of success as a team,’’ Schiller said. “The difference in United States and Germany in soccer is that I think here it’s more offensive with a kick-and-run style of play. In Germany, it’s more defensive. It’s a very structured defense as well.”
While Wilkes and Schiller have made an impact, the Indians have gotten excellent play out of several other players inlcluding Kyle Frerker (19 points, 5 goals), Lane Hoelscher (10 goals, 8 assists, 28 points), Christian Gonzales (5 goals, 16 points) and Michael McKinley (4 goals, 13 points).
The defense has allowed just 22 goals in 14 games. Goaltender Austin Heriford is 12-0 with five solo shutouts.
“We have a very good offense, which is led by Malik and Sam,” Carr said. “But we have a lot of players with the ability to put the ball in the net as well. If teams concentrate too much on Sam and Malik, we certainly have others who can make them pay.”
It’s tough to move a lot. You make friends and then you have to leave. But I think its helped me mature faster. It’s taught me that nothing lasts forever.
Malik Wilkes, Mascoutah senior
Carr said he had an early indication at how good both Schiller and Wilkes were going to be.
“Sam had come to a camp and I saw him play. You could watch him for five minutes and see how good his skills are,” Carr said. “He’s got the whole package. He’s got great touch on the ball, great speed, excellent awareness on the field and just has a knack of knowing where his teammates are on the field.
“Malik is the same way. He’s got great touch and he’s just a playmaker. But what sets him apart is his speed. A defender may think he’s got him fine, and in a flash, he blows right by the guy.”
Both Schiller and Wilkes will be playing college soccer at the NCAA Division I level next season. Schiller is getting looks from Montana State and Texas A&M, while Wilkes is being recruited by Georgia and Georgia State among others.