Winning is twice as fun for Andrean's Drayk Bowen

Being able to compete at a championship level didn’t happen overnight for Drayk Bowen.

IN-Football-Digest-Week-Two

"I would say just how much we focused on little things paved the way for us," said the Andrean senior dual sport standout. "Whether that be fielding and the fundamentals of fielding or in football, the little footwork you have to have to navigate the box. That is probably the biggest reason why we were able to perform at a high level. When worst came to worst, we could always fall back onto the little things we did so much."

This past school year, small details resulted in big accomplishments for the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Bowen.

Last fall, the highly touted linebacker proved to be a one-man wrecking crew during Andrean's run to the Class 2A state football championship.

In addition to accumulating 105 tackles with 12 for loss, three quarterback sacks, and three interceptions, he also chipped in 155 carries for 965 yards with 18 touchdowns and 17 receptions for 117 yards and two scores.

Then, this past spring, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound infielder did his fair share to guide the 59ers to the Class 3A state baseball crown by recording a .350 batting average with two home runs and 30 runs batted in.

Having the opportunity to show off his talents in more than one sport is something Bowen has embraced over the past four years.

"It is probably one of the best things I have done," explained Bowen. "Even if I wasn't going to college for both sports, I still would have done it. So many movements you do translate into other sports. Also, your body uses different muscles in different sports, and specializing in one will get your muscles burned out. So, just playing another sport allows your body to learn new movements and use different muscles."

The four-year regular now has his sights set on a repeat performance, but he knows things will be even harder the second time around.

"My mindset is really the same. I want to help my team get back to state," Bowen explained. "I want to perform at a top performance and make sure my team follows and we get back to where we want to be."

Someone who is glad Bowen is focused is Andrean football coach Chris Skinner.

"Drayk's value is difficult to quantify because he provides much more than on-field production," Skinner said. "He's an extremely dedicated worker that has shown how discipline and intense focus can lead to improvements. This would be applicable to on-field skills, but also improvement in his strength and power and speed."

Although the 59ers are off to a slow start with losses to Class 5A top-ranked Merrillville (27-7) and Class 6A Crown Point (28-18). Bowen has still been 24 tackles, a fumble recovery, 20 carries for 93 yards, and one reception for nine yards.

"My workouts and how I take care of my body in season is what has helped me prepare," Bowen stated. "I really hone in on my conditioning and making sure my body is able to handle four quarters.

"I make sure I'm stretching, icing, and eating right. Those are the big things I do to make sure I can go the whole game."

"Almost every athlete says they want to be good, but how hard are they willing to work to reach their potential," Skinner added. "Drayk does what is necessary in the weight room, taking care of his body, proper nutrition, time management, etc. It's all part of an intrinsic motivation to keep striving for more, for better. That attitude has been visibly and motivating for his teammates over the years, and that impact is difficult to quantify."

Bowen also knows to be at the top of his game he needs to be mentally strong.

"Personally, I learned how to break the mental barrier of being tired and still going," Bowen said. "As a team, I would say we learned the work ethic and how to really make sure we pay attention to every detail. No detail is too little. I would say we also learned how to never underestimate anyone and to play as though we were playing the best team."

A member of the Indiana Football Digest's Prime Time 25 and already considered one of the program's top all-time performers on the gridiron, all of Bowen's hard work paid off when he accepted a scholarship offer to play both football and baseball for Notre Dame next fall.

"I have always wanted to be the best in whatever I do," Bowen said. "Being thought of as the best in the area, state, or country has always been something I've dreamed and worked for.

"I chose Notre Dame because it was the best fit and place for me. I loved the coaching staff and especially Coach (Marcus) Freeman. The fan base is amazing, and the campus just felt like home. I was still able to be close to family and didn't have to miss much with my family."

However, his first order of business is getting Andrean (0-2) back on track this coming Saturday when they host Crete-Monee (Ill.) at Father Eckert Field.

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