Owasso building around dual-threat QB Jaylen Lowe
BY MARK COOPER World Sports Writer
Sunday, May 27, 2012
5/27/12 at 9:36 AM
High school football: Spring Games
Conquerors will start freshman QB Calhoon
Jaylen Lowe likes to fluster defenses. As he enters his senior season as Owasso's starting quarterback, he will have an opportunity to make opponents think twice with every snap.
"I think it's tough for the defense because you never know if I'm going to run it or throw it," Lowe said. "Or if we do option reads, it's tough, because we got Scottie (Prealow), he can run the football. If they all crash on him, I'll just pull it and we can both make plays."
Lowe played quarterback, wide receiver, cornerback, punter and kick- and punt-return man for the Rams in 2011. He was a Tulsa World All-State honorable mention defensive back, but his versatility will be scaled back as he focuses on running the offense in place of the departed Kason Key.
Owasso coach Bill Patterson said Lowe will still punt, and he will be on defense in critical moments late in games for the Rams, who went 9-4 last season.
But he is now a quarterback, first and foremost.
Lowe taking snaps has made for a dynamic Owasso offense this spring. Prealow, a returning starter at tailback, ran for 1,441 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.
In practice Tuesday, the Owasso offense worked on option reads. The Rams' backfield was active, with wide receivers coming across the field on end-arounds and reverses.
When Lowe had opportunities to throw, he showed an innate comfort level firing on the run out of the pocket.
"He's extremely accurate," said Patterson, who enters his sixth season as Owasso's head coach. "Does a great job of throwing the ball on the run, throws a great deep ball, and is really good on the move for us in our play-action passing game and run-outs. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense."
Lowe and Prealow will be relied on greatly, as Owasso has to replace its entire offensive line and some premier playmakers. Keon Hatcher caught 100 passes for the Rams last season. He is now at Arkansas. Matt Gallagher was an All-State tight end, but he was a senior.
Owasso returns only four offensive starters, Patterson said.
"You don't replace Keon Hatcher," he said. "We've got some guys out there that have been playing real well this spring and catching the football well and blocking well."
Lowe's biggest task this spring has been grasping the playbook. He said there are more bootlegs and run-outs in the offense, plays more tailored to his skill-set as a dual-threat quarterback.
Lowe's ability to make plays with his arm and feet could make the Rams offense even stronger, if the pieces come together.
"We're not settling for the semis this year," Lowe said.
2011 record: 9-4
Coach: Bill Patterson (sixth season, 38-22)
»» Keon Hatcher led Class 6A in receptions a season ago, and his performance and talent level were rewarded with a scholarship to Arkansas. For Owasso, it leaves a lot of production that must be accounted for.
Coach Bill Patterson named four wide receivers who have impressed him this spring. Two returning starters at the position, John Cole Neph and Jake Burd, each caught 29 passes a season ago. Samory Collier missed much of last season with a broken arm he suffered in Owasso's third game of the season against Jenks, but Patterson said he possesses a lot of speed and can help the Rams stretch the field. And Hunter Chancellor is another receiver who has stepped up.
»» Defensively, the Rams return 10 of 11 starters, and Patterson said there is good speed at every position. But that speed has a catch.
Owasso's biggest defensive lineman is about 230 pounds, Patterson said.
"They can all run, but we're concerned about overall size up front on the defensive line," he said.
»» The Rams' matchup with Union on Sept. 21 will be one of the more anticipated matchups of the season. Last year, Owasso upset the Redskins, 41-38, snapping Union's 94-game district winning streak and dealing the team its first district loss since 1997. It's a win that still sticks in the mind of the Rams as a pinnacle moment in last season.
"It's probably No. 1, just beating Union, because we haven't beaten them in a long time," quarterback Jaylen Lowe said. "And (we'll) try to do it again next year."
(subject to change)
Aug. 31: Broken Arrow.........7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7: at Muskogee.........TBA
Sept. 14: Jenks.........7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21: at Union .........7 p.m.
Sept. 28: Ponca City (homecoming).........7:30 p.m.
Oct. 5: at Bartlesville.........7 p.m.
Oct. 12: Booker T. Washington.........7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: Enid.........7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26: at Sand Springs.........TBA
Nov. 2: at Stillwater.........TBA
Original Print Headline: Owasso building around QB Lowe
Mark Cooper 918-581-8312