Ernesto Bowen is an avid reader.
Colonial Forge’s senior running back pored over The Free Lance–Star preview of Friday’s game against Massaponax twice—first online and then on a broadsheet that teammate Madden Lowe spread out across a cafeteria table.
The same quote resonated both times.
Panthers linebacker “Elijah Christopher said we couldn’t run the ball,” Bowen said. “That sparked me up and got me hyped.”
“He doesn’t really show a lot of emotion,” added Lowe, “but I could tell he kind of flipped a switch.”
Don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper.
A clearly perturbed Bowen powered his way to 164 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and Colonial Forge ran past previously unbeaten Massaponax, 35–0.
The Eagles (7–0) took the opening kickoff and needed just one minute, 56 seconds to march 80 yards, taking a 7–0 lead on a 21-yard pass from Lowe to senior Zack Kindel. Forge went ahead 14–0 when fullback Joshua Johnson caught a screen pass and rumbled 18 yards for a touchdown with 3:35 left in the first quarter.
Lowe, a transfer from Riverbend, finished his night 11 of 13 passing for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Max Kauthen added a 15-yard rushing touchdown for the Eagles, who travel to Stafford next week.
Meanwhile, Massaponax’s offense lacked viable options on Friday. The Panthers (6–1) picked up just four first downs during the first half. Just before halftime, Massaponax positioned itself for a 44-yard field goal attempt, but Jonathan Kim’s kick sailed right.
“We never really got going,” Panthers coach Eric Ludden said. “We needed to possess the ball to keep it out of their hands, because they have so many weapons on offense.”
None more understated than Bowen. The Eagles’ de facto workhorse each of the past two seasons, the senior found himself in a backfield timeshare while dealing with an unspecified lower-body injury.
But Bowen appeared fully healthy on his second rushing touchdown, a 34-yard scamper late in the second quarter. After bursting through the line of scrimmage, Bowen extended his right arm and discarded a would-be tackler on the turf before accelerating into the end zone.
“He wanted to prove tonight that he’s the guy,” Eagles coach John Brown said.
“There’s nothing to prove,” Bowen countered, flashing a smile. “We can all run the ball.”
Cf—Zack Kindel 21 pass from Madden Lowe (Phillip Lovelace kick).
Cf—Joshua Johnson 18 pass from Lowe (Lovelace kick).
Cf—Ernesto Bowen 38 run (Lovelace kick).
Cf—Bowen 34 run (Lovelace kick).
Cf—Max Kauthen 15 run (Lovelace kick).
RUSHING: Massaponax—Evan Schickel 16-74; Joshua Hale 8-25; Elijah Christopher 8-34; Logan Treiber 2-5; Jacob Romero 2-5. Colonial Forge—Ernesto Bowen 12-164, 2 TDs; Jamal Thomas 7-66; Madden Lowe 7-32; Max Kauthen 2-4, TD; Josh Sarratt 1-6; Jordan Savoy 2-5; Paten Rodier 1-8; Nico Lee 1-7; Michael Vinson 1-12.
PASSING: Massaponax—Evan Schickel 2-7-1, 38 yards. Colonial Forge—Madden Lowe 11-13-0, 128 yards and 2 TDs.
RECEIVING: Massaponax—Luke Morley 2-38. Colonial Forge—Zack Kindel 3-35, TD; Rodier 2-19; Josh Sarratt 4-46; Josh Johnson 1-18, TD; Elijah Sarratt 1-6.