Lakers' Lowery has eye on ball, on and off field Football: Standout Lake Clifton receiver models his game, and his life, after a former teammate who overcame much to win college scholarship.

September 19, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

At 11, Terrill Lowery idolized an older friend who was into bad things.

"I'd follow him around, but he'd duck out. Leave me in alleys, crying," said Lowery, who is now 18 and Lake Clifton's two-time second-team All-Metro wide receiver. "The next day, he'd be [incarcerated.]"

Lowery, who has more than 30 career touchdowns and 2,000 receiving yards, now draws strength from the comeback story of a predecessor -- former teammate Dennis Harding, a 1994 graduate, who has a football scholarship to Boston College.

"My junior year, my teammates handed me Dennis' locker. I had some big shoes to fill," said Lowery, who would like to play in college alongside Harding. "I've talked to Dennis about what to do on and off the field. I want to be the best I can at everything I do."

Harding, who became a father at age 13, told his story to The Sun last November.

"I aimed high by looking at my parents, the failure in their lives. My father has been incarcerated. My mother has had drug problems, too. Seeing so much failure in the neighborhood, so much failure around me -- I didn't want to go that route," he said.

Raised primarily by his grandparents, Harding's third try at the Scholastic Assessment Test earned him an NCAA-qualifying 930. And as a redshirt freshman, Harding's touchdown reception beat Virginia Tech.

"My parents are there for me, but what Dennis went through, it's like, if he can do it, so can I," said Lowery, who has a 2.8 GPA and will take the SAT, beginning next month, as often as necessary.

David White, now Douglass' athletic director, coached both players at Lake Clifton during Lowery's sophomore year.

"Terrill has that same quiet way about him. His actions on the field speak for him," White said. "As a freshman, Terrill made a one-handed catch in the JV championship. I knew, then, he had great potential. He can't go wrong working as hard as Dennis."

Lowery's summer training included running 100-yard intervals with two radial tires strapped around his waist and hours of high-stepping in five feet of water, the 50-foot length of a neighborhood pool.

At a summer camp at the University of Maryland, Lowery (5 feet 11, 180 pounds) demonstrated a 30-inch vertical leap and ran a 4.6-second 40-yard dash. He also plays lacrosse.

Like a billiard ball with so much English on it, Lowery spins off defenders, or, like a bowling ball, scatters them. As a senior, his routes are sharper, crisper.

"He's difficult to cover and is a good runner after a catch," said coach Roger Wrenn, whose Patterson Clippers (1-1) visit Class 4A rival Lake Clifton (2-0) tomorrow. "Short passes, deep balls, in a crowd -- he catches exceptionally well. He's the complete package."

Lowery has six receptions for 149 yards and touchdowns of 25 and 56 yards this season.

"Sometimes, you'll see him carrying a ball around, twirling and spinning it in the air on his fingertips," said Lake Clifton coach James Monroe. "You never know how the ball will come to you, so he learns it from point to point."

Offensively, Lowery has not dropped any of 10 passes thrown his way. But four passes, including two scores, were nullified by penalties. As a defensive back, he has an interception and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

"He knows when to go deep, when to curl, when to come back and help out," said Lakers quarterback Joe Able. "When I throw it to him, he makes me look good."

In having already earned second-team All-Metro honors, Lowery has surpassed his model, Harding, who as a senior was picked second-team All-City/County.

"Dennis was more of a shake-and-baker. He had these fakes that could break defenders' ankles," Lowery said.

"But like my cousin, [Lakers running back] Darnell Pearsall, I more or less want to run over a guy. I won't catch a ball and fall down -- I'm thinking end zone. I want to hear the crowd go, 'Wooooo!'"

Pub Date: 9/19/96

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