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Jordan Gowins has a unique style of running. The St. Anthony’s tailback never appears to be laboring. In fact, it never looks like he’s running very hard at all.
“He doesn’t look like he’s fast, but trust me he is,” Friars coach Rich Reichert said. “He’s football fast.”
Gowins sure made his best career rushing effort look effortless on Saturday at Stepinac. The junior rushed for 297 yards and three touchdowns as St. Anthony’s blew past the host Crusaders, 31-14, in a game that was tied at the half.
St. Anthony’s (2-1) outscored Stepinac 17-0 in the second half, keyed by a dazzling 94-yard touchdown run by Gowins.
“He’s very powerful and it never looks like he’s running hard,” Reichert said. “It’s just a lot of power.”
The Friars simply wore a thinner, undersized Stepinac squad down in the second half. But the Crusaders had their opportunities.
Gowins put St. Anthony’s ahead 7-0 with a first-quarter before a DeMarcus Miller interception ignited Stepinac. It led to a Gavin Heslop 42-yard touchdown catch from Brandon Coleman, tying the game at 7-7.
St. Anthony’s regained control when quarterback Greg Galligan broke a 65-yard score on an option keep. But Stepinac came right back down the field with a six-play, 80-yard scoring drive that Coleman capped with a score.
Just before the half, Heslop intercepted another pass for Stepinac and returned it to the St. Anthony’s 22 with 1:33 to go. But the Crusaders couldn’t take advantage, which would become a theme in the second half.
Stepinac had three drives stall inside the St. Anthony’s 30 in the third quarter. Gowins’ 94-yard touchdown run seemed to take all the momentum out of Stepinac’s upset bid.
“That was definitely frustrating to get that close to the end zone and not score,” said Coleman, who had 117 total yards in the game.
“We take experience out of this,” said Coleman. We banged with some of the best kids in the state and we were able to fight for a half and we came up short in the second. We are proud of what we did.”
St. Anthony’s registered 460 total yards of offense and leaned on its offensive and defensive lines to wear down Stepinac.
“They have a number of guys both ways and I think that caught up to them in the end,” Reichert said. “That’s what we hang our hat on. We tried to uptempo it even more this year to take advantage against teams that play both ways.”
Reach Kevin Devaney Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org