PEMBROKE — Thristian Lowry was by no means a poor quarterback for Purnell Swett last season. Lowry threw for more than 1,500 yards, rushed for 337 more and was responsible for 20 of his team’s touchdowns during the team’s 3-8 campaign.
Those numbers would sit well with most quarterbacks in the state, but for Lowry, it wasn’t enough. He said he learned a lot during the last season and realizes that just because the personal numbers were there, it doesn’t mean the season was a success.
“I know it’s not about individual stats,” Lowry said. “I could throw for 100 yards and hand it off 30 times and if we win the game it’s worth it. Last year I was more focused on my stats, and this year, its more about doing what I can to help the team win.”
He’ll face a stark contrast across the field tonight against Red Springs, when his counterpart, Cody Freeman, enters his second game behind center for the Red Devils.
“I’m stepping up and taking care of the team,” he said. “I’m trying to do my best. All of (my teammates) have helped me out, picked me up when I have been down.”
Lowry spent the spring and summer working on his game after starting for coach Mark Heil last season.
“(I was) just working on the fundamentals,” he said. “Keeping my feet moving, looking off defenders, the mental part of the game and just knowing my assignments. Having a better attitude towards the game. Just growing up.”
It’s a maturity he’s helped develop for his senior season.
“If the defense sees how you react, they are going to see that’s how the team reacts,” he said. “When things went wrong, I couldn’t get mad at my team, I had to know we would just get to practice and work on it for the next week.
“That’s what I have been working on. We have been talking about keeping composure.”
Heil said it has been easier to work with Lowry this year because they haven’t had to spend as much time working on the playbook with him.
“We’ve been working through the spring and the summer,” Heil said. “Thristian knows our offense, and it’s much easier to get into an offensive tempo when you have a quarterback that knows that.”
Lowry said he was more prepared for the pace of the varsity game this season after his junior season.
“Coming from jayvee and going to varsity, everything is a little bit faster,” he said. “This year I am a little bit more confident in the team I have behind me.”
Freeman has had big shoes to fill at Red Springs, taking over for stalwart Blake Greene in a new system brought in by new coach in Ron Cook. It’s an admittedly steep learning curve for the junior.
“Just learning all of the plays, because when I got here I didn’t know any of them,” Freeman said. “After two weeks, I had picked them up.”
Freeman isn’t the only young gun on the Red Devils, with only five seniors on the team, and most of them playing lineman positions. Despite the youth, still is confident in the other skill players around him.
“One of the guys I really look to is Deondre Hallman, my running back, Ron (Alexander), my wide receivers, all of them are good to me and help me out.”
After one game, Freeman is battle tested, and this week has been working on some of the weaker points of his game that showed up in last Friday night’s battle with White Oak.
“I just have to work on my passing a whole lot more,” Freemad said. “I threw a couple of balls I didn’t like and I have to work on it a whole lot more.”
For Red Springs coach Cook, having a young quarterback and a young team isn’t all bad in his first year at the helm.
“It’s a good and bad thing,” Cook said. “There’s a lot of young guys that don’t know how things were done before. The bad thing about it is we don’t have a lot of seniors and we could have better senior leadership.”