Jack Bowers is back and appears to be better than ever.
The Ozark senior running back has already served notice and then some that his comebacks from a broken foot his sophomore year and a broken wrist his junior year are complete.
During a Tigers workout last week, Bowers carried the ball on a rocket sweep to his left and met up with cornerback Sam Clark. Clark is a rapidly rising star, but Bowers was able to barrel him over.
“Sam is a great corner, but Jack is a bull in a china shop,” tight end Jace Whatley said. “Once he gets going downhill, it's hard to stop him. He sees the end zone and wants to get there. It doesn't matter who is in his way.”
Bowers isn’t the same speedster who carried the ball 77 times for 451 yards his sophomore season. He now features an improved combination of speed and strength in comparison to two years ago.
“I was 35 pounds lighter two years ago than I am now. I'm up tp 195,” Bowers said. “I've done nothing but get faster as I've put on weight.”
“Jack is a hard-nosed kid who works super hard,” coach Jeremy Cordell said. “He has good athletic ability. He’s quick and has some strength to him. He's a fiery guy who really wants to prove that he belongs and can play a part in our offense. He's getting better every day. He takes coaching very well, which is a huge plus.”
Cordell has helped fuel Bowers’ fire by reminding him of the opportunity that awaits him.
“Cordell talks to me daily about how this is my comeback year and how I can prove a lot of people wrong who don't think I will be the same as I was my sophomore year,” Bowers said.
Bowers is also drawing motivation by seeing the results of his efforts pay dividends.
“Being at that level I'm getting to, being able to run people over and make juke moves, makes it even more fun,” he said. “It makes me want to work even more.”
Bowers’ sophomore season ended early due to his broken foot and he didn’t play at all as a junior due to his broken wrist he suffered at a 7-on-7 tournament. But he was able to run track both years. He took part in sprints with an eye on what it would mean for him on the football field.
“Track has helped me get so much faster in preparation for football and keeps me in good shape,” said Bowers, whose personal record in the 100 last spring was 11.91. “You can really see the guys who have done an extra sport and the ones who took their off-season and didn't do anything. They're the ones who are out here wheezing and dying after every play. The ones who did track, baseball or another sport are all fine.”
Bowers handled his injuries about as well as he could. His sophomore year, he looked to fellow running back Jake Kronebusch as a mentor.
“We basically bonded over our injuries,” Bowers said. “We were both injured and talked on the sideline. That's how we formed our friendship. Over the whole least season, we became closer. Even though he's graduated, we still talk.”
Bowers is counting on his added strength to make him more durable.
“I haven't had an injury I could control,” he said, referring to his broken bones. "But I'm hoping by getting bigger and stronger will help me keep from getting injured. I'm praying this year. I'm not as easy to take down or as easy to get to.”