The stretch run starts for both Aaron Cowee and the Carson High Senators on Friday night.
That term has double meaning for Cowee, the Senators’ 6-foot-4 270-pound offensive tackle. The CHS senior wants to help the Senators win a regional championship, but he also knows that a two or three-week playoff run could increase his opportunity to land a college scholarship. He’d much rather talk about the former rather than the latter, however.
“It’s not about me it, it’s about what the team does,” Cowee said. “We’re trying to build a championship caliber team here. If I do well it will help build toward a championship. I will try to stand out on film, but right now I’m looking at the team. I’m just trying to play my best.
“I cried when we lost to Douglas last year. I felt bad when last season had to end. We got off to such a good start (4-1, including an upset of Reed) and then we got too cocky and lost the rest of our games. Everybody was motivated this year to have a good season, and everybody has worked hard. We wanted the way coach Roman wanted us to play.”
And, for the most part, the Senators have done that. Carson has compiled a 7-2 record, including its fourth league championship in the last five years. How far the Senators go remains to be seen. They have accomplished two of their yearly goals — winning the Sierra League championship and beating Douglas. The only thing missing is a regional championship. As a sophomore Cowee was on the team that reached the regional finals/state semifinals and lost to Reed, 49-0.
Coach Blair Roman loves to hear that kind of talk. He appreciates the fact that Cowee has always been a team-first type of guy ever since he stepped on the CHS campus.
“Aaron has always been like that,” Roman said. “It’s realistic. He has control over what happens on the field. He doesn’t have any control over the scholarship thing. He doesn’t care about the accolades. He’s just worried about the next opponent.”
“Absolutely; certainly it could help him if we do well in the playoffs.”
Control went out the window when Cowee suffered a high ankle sprain earlier this season in the second quarter of the 19-6 win over McQueen. He initially thought his high school career was over.
“I heard a snap and then a crack,” Cowee said. “I thought my season was done. The doctors originally said six weeks. I thought I could come back in four or five. I came back in the fourth week and played the fifth week. When pro players get high-ankle sprains it can be up to 10 weeks in some cases.”
“I was hoping for the Manogue game, and I was pleasantly surprised he was back for the Galena game,” Roman said. “If he hadn’t gotten hurt, he would have had a dominant season. That’s not to say he hasn’t played well. Each week he gets better and better.”
Cowee admits he’s not 100 percent, but he’s getting closer.
“I can do everything that I could do before the injury,” Cowee said. His weekly evaluations have been solid since his return. His lowest score was last week against Douglas, but the whole offense struggled at times to move the ball consistently and to protect quarterback Garrett Schafer.
Cowee said he’s talked to a couple of schools since the injury.
“I told them what was going on,” he said. “I just keep trying to play my best.”
Schools would be wise to wait and see how Cowee is playing instead of making a snap decision because of the injury. He brings a lot to the table.
“He’s so athletic for a big guy,” said offensive line coach Jim Franz. “He’s very smart. You only have to tell him something once. He’s a leader. I think he wants to be all the things a senior needs to be.”
If Cowee ever gets in a profession where weekly travel is a must, he will be ready. He spent much of the summer going to various camps on college campuses.
“I think I went to seven,” Cowee said. “We went to UNR, Fresno State, San Diego State, Washington State, UNLV and Arizona, and we visited Montana.
“I just wanted to get my name out there and show them what I could do. It definitely helped me. I know I’m a bit undersized, but I have a great work ethic and I’m coachable. It’s more to see what other guys can do.
“A lot of the camps it’s about agility. That’s what I try to do is show them how athletic I can be.”
Despite the injury, Roman has high hopes for Cowee.
“I think he’ll end up somewhere,” Roman said. “He can play Division I. He’s is the best offensive lineman I’ve seen since I’ve been at Carson. He’s gotten the most interest of any player I’ve ever had. Jon Parker had some interest and an offer from UNLV. Aaron is on the board of a lot of teams. He’s on Nevada’s board, he’s on UNLV’s board, he’s on Fresno State’s board and he’s gotten interest from Holy Cross and Northern Arizona who are Division 1-AA schools. There is a long time between now and February. We’ll have to see who falls where.
“During the course of the season I haven’t heard from a lot of schools. I’ll hear a lot more in the next month or so. If he was No. 1 on team’s boards I’d be hearing a lot from schools. It will depend on where other guys fall and what a team’s needs are.”
Cowee has played center, guard and tackle during his three-year varsity career at Carson.
“He has the feet to play any position,” Roman said. “A lot depends on how big he gets. Because of his football IQ, I think he could be a good center. If a team runs some sort of spread-type offense, he could play tackle because he’s good in 1-on-1 situations; plays well in space. I could see him move inside to guard.”
“In college, I’ll probably be center or guard,” Cowee said earlier this year. “At tackle, they want guys that are 6-6 or 6-7. Center is probably the toughest position to learn because the center calls out all the stunts and blitzes.”
Roman said that he could play defense at Nevada.
“Defense is fun,” Cowee said. “I’m not as good on defense as I am on offense.”
In reality, all Cowee wants is a chance to show his wares. He believes he can deliver the goods.