Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Right on Target Great Expectations Lowndes Takes Cues from QB

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Right on Target Great Expectations Lowndes Takes Cues from QB

Article excerpt

Brandon Cowart always has been a kid who steps in and takes

charge.

Last year, he stepped from Lowndes High's unbeaten 1995 junior

varsity team to the starting quarterback position and passed for

2,380 yards -- second in Georgia -- in leading the Vikings to a

12-2 record and the state Class AAAA semifinals.

It came as no surprise to Lowndes coach Milt Miller, who

recalled the first time the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Cowart took a

varsity snap in game conditions.

"He was in the eighth grade, and it was our spring game," the

Vikings' coach said. "Every one of our quarterbacks got hurt in

the first half. I told him at halftime, `Get ready to go, son.

You're all we've got left.' He kind of stammered a little, then

went in there and drove the first offense 60 yards for a

touchdown against the first defense."

Not a bad debut for a 14-year-old country boy from the hamlet of

Hahira (pronounced Hay-HI-Ruh), about 18 miles north of Valdosta

on the Lowndes County line.

"He didn't even know any of those people he was playing with,"

Miller said. "He was the quarterback at Hahira Junior High. He

just went in there and took charge. It took a lot for an

eighth-grader to do that."

Of course, Cowart has always been a little precocious when it

comes to football.

"I've been playing ever since I was 4," he said with a grin.

"You're supposed to be 5 before you can play [in youth leagues],

but I talked 'em into it."

Cowart played his freshmen and sophomore years on Lowndes' "B"

teams, then moved up to the varsity last year as a starter few

people had heard of.

But now, everybody in the state has heard of him. He completed

142-of-293 passes (49.8 percent) for 28 touchdowns last year,

with 12 interceptions, and his 2,380-yard total was second in

Georgia only to Americus' Fabian Walker, who had 2,697

(Carrollton's David Rooks also had 2,380).

He's a pure passer who can drop straight back and rifle the

ball on the money 45 yards to a streaking receiver, but he's

also agile and can throw on the run. His best trait, though, may

be his attitude.

"He's got all the intangibles," Miller said. "When he steps

into the huddle, he takes charge. He's tough. He's a scrapper."

It doesn't hurt a quarterback, of course, to have great

receivers, and Cowart has one of the best in Georgia in fellow

senior C.J. Lofton. The Lowndes' split end caught 62 of Cowart's

passes last year for 1,045 yards, third-best in the state behind

John Wilson of Americus (1,257) and Reginald Temple of Turner

County (1,109), both of whom graduated.

"I didn't even know I was [the leading returning receiver in

Georgia]," the unassuming Lofton said. "I guess that means I owe

a lot to my teammates who do the blocking for me. …

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