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Sowers is class on and off battlefield

December 05, 2004|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

WHEELING, W.Va. - So, apparently Nate Sowers isn't Superman after all.

Not that he would ever claim that he was.

No, Sowers is definitely human. It showed in the five interceptions he threw during Martinsburg's 38-12 loss Saturday to Morgantown in the Class AAA championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium.

It showed in his growing frustration with each touchdown the Mohigans scored.

It showed in the disappointment of another championship dream fallen short.

He wasn't alone in his disappointment or his frustration. Everybody involved with the Martinsburg season was bathing in their own measures of the two in the moments after Saturday's game.

"I feel bad for Nate," Martinsburg coach David Walker said. "We preach "team" and talk about "team" all year, but he's the guy that made us go. He had a lot on his shoulders."

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Sowers, a three-year starter at quarterback, has been the face of the Martinsburg team this season.

And after the loss, the face of the team faced the music.

Sowers did not dodge a single reporter, standing on the field where he had just played his last high school football game and answering countless questions about his substandard game.

Of course, when you've set the bar as high as Sowers has over the last three years, the substandard game was bound to come eventually.

He offered no excuses, instead giving credit to the Morgantown defense. "They forced me into some bad decisions, but I threw a couple of bad balls today, too."

He stood on the field until every media person had gotten his fill, even though Sowers probably would have given his MVP trophy away to have been anywhere else.

The Nate Sowers that people know from reading game stories in a newspaper is a lot different from the real Nate Sowers.

"If they don't know Nate, then they haven't done their homework," Walker said. "Anyone who knows him and follows our program knows the kind of person he is."

The Nate Sowers from those press clippings might come across more Superman than Clark Kent. His three-year statistics prove that few defenses were carrying around a briefcase full of Kryptonite.

But the reality is different. He carries a 4.0 grade point average. He's polite. He's friendly. He smiles a lot. He rarely draws attention to himself.

Sowers picked up the baton from Joey Yurish, who led the Bulldogs to the 2001 title game, and inherited Brandon Barrett, who won the Kennedy Award twice with Sowers tossing the ball his way.

Now, with Barrett gone, most figured the Bulldogs a longshot to get back to the state final for a second straight year.

But there they were Saturday, on the same field as last year, playing for the championship again.

And while other players - guys like Jeremiah Seeley, Aaron Stokes, Robert Fields, Adam Kee and Josh Twyman - had major roles in the Bulldogs' return to Wheeling, there would have been no return trip if not for Sowers.

"Make no mistake, we wouldn't be here today without Nate," Walker said. "Nobody expected us to do the things that we did this year, and a lot of that has to be attributed to Nate."

And why shouldn't it be? After all, he did compile more than 10,000 offensive yards in his high school career and became the first player in West Virginia to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season.

And what does Superman have to say about all that?

"This has been a great season for our team. I'm so proud of our team and these seniors. I've had a blast playing with these guys."

That sounds slightly more Clark Kent to me.




Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears every Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at keller@herald-mail.com

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