One way football coaches categorize football players — according to Boonsboro’s Clayton Anders — is whether they have a motor.
Count Warriors defensive end J.R. Lowery in that group.
“He definitely has that,” Anders said of Lowery. “He’s relentless. He just has the relentless spirit within him that he’s going to wear people out.”
Lowery wore out opposing offenses in 2011, leading Washington County in tackles and tackles for losses and helping elevate Boonsboro from also-rans a year ago back into the playoffs.
Lowery is The Herald-Mail’s Washington County Football Defensive Player of the Year.
A four-year varsity player, Lowery said the Warriors’ 2-8 season in 2010 was a call to action for him.
“My freshman and sophomore years, we did great, made the playoffs,” Lowery said. “My junior year, we had a rough season and that really woke me up. I knew I had to try harder in order to help the team succeed.”
Lowery recognized a lack of leadership from players during his junior year and was determined to not have the same thing happen in his last season.
“We didn’t have that many senior leaders that year, and no real vocal ones,” Lowery said. “I knew I needed to speak up and really help my team out.”
“J.R. was the guy who had the vocal element, who would call the team together and be the one addressing them,” Anders said. “He would tell them what they needed to do to be successful, but he went out and showed them, too.”
As much as Lowery may have helped with his words, his actions spoke volumes on the field. He had 135 tackles in the regular season, including 84 solo stops. Twenty-four of those tackles were behind the line of scrimmage, and he also had nine sacks.
“He has good speed for his size and he’s always been above average in his strength level,” Anders said. “But part of it is mindset, that great high-effort level it takes to run plays down from the back side. A lot of his tackles were running things down from behind.”
Lowery has already visited Shippensburg and Kutztown universities and will visit Salisbury this week. He said most of the visits were for track, but both Kutztown and Salisbury also are interested in him for football — which could weigh into his decision on a college.
“I’ve been playing football since third grade and I’ve loved it ever since,” Lowery said. “Hitting people, that feeling on game day ... it makes me really happy.
Joining Lowery on the All-County First Team Defense:
Britton Beard, Boonsboro, DL: Beard was second to Lowery on the Warriors in tackles (84), tackles for loss (12) and sacks (5).
Dylan Finney, Hancock, DL: Finney anchored the front line for the Panthers and made 41 tackles. He had nine sacks, seven other tackles for loss and recovered four fumbles.
Alex Fridley, Williamsport, DL: Fridley was a force in the middle of the Wildcats’ line, making 75 tackles, including 22 for loss and five sacks. Fridley was also Williamsport’s leading rusher with 637 yards and three touchdowns.
Brandon Starliper, Williamsport, DL: Starliper led Washington County with 12 sacks. He had 61 tackles overall, including seven others for loss.
Nate Downs, Williamsport, LB: Downs reached the century mark in tackles, finishing with 46 solos and 54 assists. He had five tackles for loss.
Sam Elwood, Clear Spring, LB: Elwood was a multiple threat for the Blazers, leading the team with 113 tackles (77 solo, 12 for loss) while also rushing for 204 yards and catching 34 passes for 385 yards.
Robby Hogue, Smithsburg, LB: Another in a long line of standout linebackers for the Leopards, Hogue was second in the county in tackles with 130. He also had 18 tackles for loss and 5 1/2 sacks.
Sergio Galvan, North Hagerstown, LB: Galvan finished with 121 tackles, including 75 solo, nine for loss and five sacks. He had four games with at least 15 tackles, including 17 in each of the Hubs’ final two games.
C.J. Davis, South Hagerstown, DB: Davis became South’s all-time leader in interceptions after picking off five passes this season. He had 42 tackles and was also an offensive force, catching 29 passes for 459 yards and three touchdowns.
Zach Poffenberger, Boonsboro, DB: One of a number of Warriors who contributed on both sides of the ball, Poffenberger had 37 tackles and five interceptions defensively. He also rushed for 538 yards and nine touchdowns and returned a kickoff and a punt for scores.
Garrett Wiles, Hancock, DB: Wiles had six interceptions, four other passes defended and recovered two fumbles. He finished with 48 tackles and also passed for 786 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Tyler Wise, Williamsport, DB: Wise was the Wildcats’ big-play maker on both sides of the ball. He led the county with nine interceptions and was Williamsport’s top receiver with 21 catches for 318 yards and five touchdowns.
Mark Grunberg, North Hagerstown, K: Grunberg converted 36 of 39 PATs and 2 of 4 field goals. He also averaged 47.9 yards per kickoff and had four touchbacks.
J.T. Root, North Hagerstown, P: Root, who doubled as the Hubs’ quarterback, averaged 39 yards per punt. Eight of his 26 kicks were inside the 20-yard line.