COUNCIL BLUFFS — Trey Bowman craves a second meeting with Iowa City Regina.
The St. Albert senior wants the chance to square off against the Regals at full strength.
Bowman, a two-way starting lineman for the Falcons, injured his ankle near the beginning of the Class 1-A championship game last November at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. He played the rest of the afternoon in a boot. It severely limited him on offense. He couldn’t play defense.
Regina beat St. Albert 35-14. It was the second straight loss by the Falcons in a state title game.
Bowman hasn’t gotten over it. He knows the Regals didn’t face him at his best.
“I have a personal vendetta. I got hurt. I played injured,” he said. “It motivates me. I really want to see them again. ... I’m still feeling it. Every time I lift, I always think about the game.”
Bowman’s Falcons will open the season as one of the top teams in 1-A. Regina will also.
St. Albert coach Kevin Culjat said his star lineman’s health will be a key to his team’s success. He was impressed by Bowman’s work in the weight room and at various football camps during the offseason.
“He’s bigger, faster and stronger than he was last year,” he said. “And he’s highly motivated.”
Bowman opened fall camp at 6-foot-4, 248 pounds. He’s coming off a breakout junior season, in which he earned second-team all-state honors in 1-A by the Iowa Newspaper Association.
“His athleticism has always been just a touch behind his size,” Culjat said. “He’s just like a baby giraffe. Just when he was about to catch up, he’d just keep growing. Last year, it started to all come together for him. He caught up with himself. He started to become the athlete we all envisioned he’d be. He’s just a kid who’s finally come into his own as a football player.”
The St. Albert coach believes Bowman, a starter since his sophomore year, can grow into a Division I lineman. Literally.
“He’s going to continue to grow,” Culjat said. “You look at him and you know he’s still got a lot of growth potential. He looks like he could carry another 30 to 40 pounds easy.
“He’s going to be a full-grown man when it’s all said and done. He’s got a long way to go. He’s going to be a good one. Someone’s going to get a steal with him.”
Bowman has heard the talk of his potential. He’s appreciative, but is focused on production.
“It’s cool, but I don’t really want to focus on it,” he said. “You can have a good year, but it was a fluke. I want to focus on just getting better and doing better than the year before.”
Bowman spent the offseason lifting weights, training at Going Vertical in Omaha and attending football camps throughout the Midwest. Now, he’s ready for his senior season.
“I’m just looking forward to those Friday nights,” he said. “The games are the best part of the season. And the games are the best part of my year. It’s just what I want to do.”
St. Albert opens against Griswold and 3-A quarterfinalist Council Bluffs Lewis Central before beginning 1-A district play. It expects to make the playoffs for a 17th straight year.
Culjat, who has a 51-4 record and three title-game appearances in his four previous seasons as a head coach, said Bowman and the Falcons will be motivated after coming up short in the 1-A final.
“Regina is Regina. Injuries aren’t the difference-makers there. But it did limit us substantially in what we were able to do. Losing Trey was big for us,” he said. “We had a couple of guys that didn’t finish that game healthy. And in the back of their minds, of course, they think if they might have been healthy, then the outcome might have been different.”
Bowman wants to find out.
Because they are located on opposite sides of the state, St. Albert couldn’t meet Regina again unless both advanced to the 1-A championship game for the second consecutive year.
Fans of both, Bowman knows, will expect that. And he wants the Falcons to do their part.
“I hope we have a great season,” he said. “And I hope we don’t let anyone down.”