ARLINGTON — It’s as if the Oklahoma Sooners of the 1970s ditched their wishbone offense and went with five receivers. Or if you’re looking for a comparable college team today, it’d be Air Force.
Starmont High School football always will be about power running. That’s why the Stars have a position called Power Back in their full-house backfield.
But sometimes it’s OK to employ that dreaded four-letter word in order to win games. You know, ‘Pass.’
“I’m pretty surprised,” quarterback David Lowry said of a record-setting senior season. “Going in, I never expected to throw the ball this much. But I am enjoying it, for sure.”
Everyone in Starmont land is enjoying it. The Stars are 8-2 going into their Class A playoff game tonight at North Tama (9-1).
There have been lots and lots of Starmont running backs over the years who have had 1,000-yard rushing seasons, but Lowry is the school’s first 1,000-yard thrower. He has completed 56 of 90 throws (62 percent) for 1,053 yards and 14 touchdowns, which also is a record.
He threw for a record 253 yards in Starmont’s 51-14 opening-round playoff win over Belle Plaine last week. That came on only seven completions.
That’s the thing. It’s not as if Starmont has turned pass happy, by any means.
The yards and TDs through the air are coming mostly out of its normal formation of three running backs and two tight ends.
“David has done a great job,” Starmont Coach Matt Lee said. “We knew him from last year, being our starter. The thing is defenses have at times been able to stop our run, which has forced us to throw. We’re comfortable with him back there throwing it. He does a great job of putting the ball on the money.
“The biggest thing with him is that he does just a great job of running our football team.”
Lowry threw for 570 yards and eight touchdowns last season but missed Starmont’s opening game this season (a loss to Maquoketa Valley, which is in the 1A playoff field) because of a sports hernia that required surgery. He said he could visibly see and feel the hernia but wanted to tough it out as long as he could because he feared having to miss football.
But two sessions of two-a-day practices changed his mind.
“I knew I had to get it checked out,” he said. “I was a little concerned at first, but the doctors told me I’d be back.”
Lowry had surgery on a Thursday, and he was cleared to play just three weeks later. He threw a late TD pass to Alan Hayes in his second game back to beat North Butler.
Hayes has 33 catches this season to set a school record.
“I think every time you have a little success, you get more and more confident,” Lowry said. “I think that’s kind of been the case here.”