Westminster brothers will play end-to-end Football: The Bowers boys, Owls alumni now playing in college, will face each other for the first time tomorrow, across the line.

October 23, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

For years, brothers Denny and Matt Bowers have been playing sports, always on the same teams. Through Westminster High School, the two, two years apart, played football and baseball.

That's what gives a local twist to tomorrow's football game between Juniata and Susquehanna in Selinsgrove, Pa.

Lining up at defensive end for Susquehanna will be junior Denny Bowers, 6-foot-2, 250 pounds. Across the line, at tight end for Juniata, will be freshman Matt Bowers, 6-3, 250 pounds.

"It's weird," Denny Bowers said this week. "Actually, it's pretty neat. It will get me fired up more."

From Huntingdon, Pa., Matt said: "It will be a little awkward at the start, but after that, it will be just football."

Which puts their mother, Pam, and father, Dennis, in the middle.

"We have mixed emotions, and I'm not sure how to handle it," the elder Bowers said. "We have to be impartial, so maybe we should hope for a tie. We're just proud of the fact both are in school and doing well."

Against Moravian last week, Denny sparked a Susquehanna (4-1) defense that sacked the quarterback four times and forced two interceptions. He had two of the sacks and three tackles behind the line of scrimmage for 15 yards lost among his eight tackles, six of which were solo.

On the season, he has seven sacks and 13 tackles for losses of 65 yards among 23 tackles (17 solo). For this performance, he was cited as the Middle Atlantic Conference's defensive player of the week -- recognition that reinforces the opinion of some who say he has the team's best defensive line skills.

The only loss was to non-league Allegheny, and as Denny said, "If we had to lose, that was a good one, because it didn't hurt us and got us focused."

Denny went to Susquehanna as a tight end, but was flipped over to defense. As a freshman, he played on special teams and now is a two-year regular. Before this season, he had totaled 57 tackles, recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass, and had five sacks among seven tackles for 42 yards in losses.

For Juniata (3-3), Matt also had a highlight against Moravian, recovering a fumble in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown in a 23-20 overtime win.

"On a pass play, our receiver got down to the 1 and fumbled, and Matt sprinted to the ball and fell on it," a school spokesman said. "Right place at the right time," Matt said of the play. For the season, he has 11 receptions for 146 yards.

Both brothers play baseball, too, with Matt expecting to play, and Denny backed by two years of experience. Last spring, he played six positions, led the team in hitting (.435) and made first-team All-MAC as designated hitter.

Aside from sports, both are honor students, although Matt pointed out that it was an adjustment, but he was doing all right.

"They have always got along well and have respect for each other," Dennis Bowers said. "We thought Matt would follow up there, but he had to go behind Denny all through high school, and this was a chance to make his own way."

His thoughts on the game? "The brother thing is out the window."

Pub Date: 10/23/98

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