When it comes to individual game performances in the 2017 football season, it will be hard to top Rahiem Bowens’ display in Week 5.
Bowens made nine catches for 246 yards and four touchdowns and picked off two passes, returning one 57 yards for a score, to lift Penn Wood to a 30-27 overtime defeat of Haverford School at Kerr Field.
“In more than 30 years of coaching, it’s one of the best showings I’ve ever seen,” Penn Wood first-year coach Ato Troop said.
Bowens clinched the Patriots’ third of four straight victories following an 0-2 start with an 8-yard grab. “We were missing one of our top receivers, so I knew I had to step up big-time,” the 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior said.
Through six games, Bowens has 22 receptions for 488 yards and six TDs. In his first year doubling as a cornerback, he has four interceptions.
“He understands what it takes to be an elite athlete,” Troop said. “He understands route-running, has a feel for defensive coverages, and knows how to get open.”
Penn Wood is 4-2 overall and 1-0 in Del-Val League action entering Friday night’s league contest at Glen Mills (2-3, 1-0).
Troop, who was the squad’s defensive coordinator last season, took over when Nick Lincoln left after three seasons to be Imhotep Charter’s boss.
Before joining the Patriots, Troop spent two years as an assistant at Harriton, where he is a special education teacher, and nine as the power lifting coach at Glen Mills.
Bowens is supported on offense by fellow receivers Kennedy Poles and Tayshon Harmon, quarterback Desman Johnson, and running backs Elijah Gleplay (62 carries for 384 yards and three TDs) and Zackiey Sheriff.
Answered Gleplay, Elijah’s brother and an 1,192-yard rusher last season, has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury in a Week 3 win at Council Rock North.
Elijah Gleplay and Johnson, who has completed 55 of 106 passes for 1,064 yards and 12 scores, are both sophomores. Of the 6-2, 240-pound Johnson, Bowens said, “He has an unbelievable arm. He puts heat on his throws. The kid can run, too.”
Bowen’s half-brother, Thaddius Smith, starred at Cardinal O’Hara and is now a senior receiver at Boston College. “He took me under his wing and taught me a lot,” Bowens said. “We work out together when he’s home from school.”
In addition to Bowens, Penn Wood’s 4-3 defense is led by fellow backs Poles, Edmund Dennis, and Alimamy Thollie, linemen David Rush and Shane Fraser, and middle linebacker Eugene Sheppard III.
Bowens, of Yeadon, has drawn intererest from Connecticut, Duquesne, Maine, and New Hampshire, among others. He went to camps at Boston College and Temple over the summer.
Oxford’s Chandler England has completed 87 of 139 passes for 1,302 yards and three TDs. Hornets wide receiver Brandon DeShields has 34 catches for 655 yards and six scores. … Avon Grove’s Kevin Francis has carried 149 times for 1,310 yards (an average of 8.8 yards per carry) and 18 scores. … St. Joseph’s Prep (4-0) was ranked ninth in the country in USA Today’s most recent Super 25. … Bartram QB Mahmud Dioubate has hit on 72 of 128 passes for 1,166 yards and 19 TDs. He has rushed 69 times for 598 yards and seven scores. Braves wideout Ibrahim Diaoune has 26 receptions for 502 yards and eight TDs. … Central Bucks South linebacker Matt Norris has posted 66 tackles, with 40 solos. … Coatesville’s Aaron Young has carried 71 times for 664 yards and 14 scores. … Kyle Long of Springfield (Delco), who has committed to play lacrosse at Maryland, has 26 catches for 461 yards and three TDs. … Downingtown East and Downingtown West will renew the Battle of the Brandywine series at 7 p.m. Friday at Kottmeyer Stadium. East has an 8-5 lead in the head-to-head series and has won six of the last seven meetings.