Blogs > Burney's Bytes

Burney's Bytes will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Super Dave

Former Oakland County prep athletic star and current NFL defensive stalwart David Bowens was pretty darn incredible this past weekend by returning two interceptions for touchdowns as his Cleveland Browns pulled the upset on the defending Super Bowl champion, New Orleans Saints. Bowens looked so viral and agile on the pair of plays, you'd think it was the 1990s and Bowens was still suiting up for Orchard Lake St. Mary's, not in the middle of his 11th year as a pro (40 pro career sacks).
Those who can remember back over 15 years ago when Bowens was a three-sport phenom for the Eaglets – wowing the County with his raw skill and brute power whether on the gridiron as a LB/TE, on the high school hardwood as a bruising forward and vicious dunk machine or in the track&field arena as a top-tier long jumper – undoubtedly have amazing memories of his exploits. And boy, were there a lot of them!
In the fall of 1994 when he was a senior at OLSM, Bowens helped lead the Eaglets to a state title on the football field, scoring a touchdown on offense and collecting 15 tackles on defense in the state championship game. During the winter months of his prep playing days, Bowens was an all-state hoopster, spearheading St. Mary's to the Class C state finals as a junior and a Top 10 Ranking in the state in all three years he was on the Eaglets varsity. This guy used to pick up doubles-doubles and throw down rim-rattling slams like it was a graduation requirement. Oh, I almost forgot:Just for good measure, Bowens added an individual state title in track and field in 1993.
Heavily-recruited in both sports, Bowens chose to play football in college and selected to further his playing career in the Big Ten at Michigan (it should be noted however he did play one year of both football and basketball for the Maze and Blue). As a freshman in 1995, he was named to the Big Ten all-newcomer team, leading the Wolverines in Sacks. The next season as a sophomore he set the UofM all-time record for most sacks in a single season with 12. Transferring out of Ann Arbor in 1996, he landed at Western Illinois where he was named D2 All-American by accumulating 135 tackles and 11 sacks in 1998.
Drafted into the NFL in 1999 in the 5th round by the Denver Broncos, Bowens has been on seven teams in over a decade on the job (DEN, MIA, CLE, NYJ, GB, BUF, WAS). Since the average NFL career lasts less than five years, the fact that my boy DB has been "In The Show" for 11 seasons demonstrates what a first-class player he really is.
On a personal note, Bowens was the best defensive player I've ever seen play at the prep level. The first person I've seen in quite some time that seems to match what I saw in Bowens is current OLSM linebacking prodigy James Ross, who as it turns out wears Bowens' old No. 6 jersey...coincidence? I sure hope not. I also once played a little AAU hoops with Bowens back in the day and let me tell you from someone he once soared over on his way to the rim, this guy's dunks literally brought the house down. In the 1995 Oakland County Slam Dunk Contest - which he won in an epic dunk off between him and future NBA'er Shane Battier - he nearly shattered several backboards with his patented flying "windmill-tomahawks"


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