CHEYENNE – Trey Bower had to wait his turn. Now, he is making the most of the opportunity.
The junior spent his first two seasons on Cheyenne East’s sub-varsity teams, playing at both the junior varsity and sophomore levels last fall.
Bower is now on the varsity roster, and ranks second in Class 4A in defensive points per game (25). Cheyenne Central junior Carter Lobatos leads the state at 26 defensive points per game.
“(Bower) is one of those program kids who has played all the levels,” Cheyenne East football coach Chad Goff said. “We were able to let him develop with kids his own age instead of bringing him up to the varsity before he might have been ready. That really helped him.
“He has done exactly what we asked of him, and never missed anything. If we say we’re going to be in the weight room, he is there.” If we say we’re going to be out on the field, he is there.”
Bower has 24 tackles (10 solo and three for loss) in the No. 3-ranked Thunderbirds’ first two games. He also has recovered two fumbles and an onside kick.
East (2-0) hosts second-ranked Thunder Basin (2-0) at 6 tonight at Okie Blanchard Stadium.
Bower said there is a simple reason he makes all of the T-Birds activities.
“I just want more reps,” he said. “It’s fun to be around my teammates. But if I can be there to make myself and my teammates better, it’s worth it.”
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Bower started his East career as a defensive lineman, but moved to linebacker last season.
“We thought we were wasting him on the D-line,” Goff said. “He is one of our pound-for-pound strongest kids. Maybe one of the top five strongest kids on the team. He also moves well and runs well.
“We needed someone on the field with those skills, so we decided to stand him up and let him play.”
Because he was spending time with both the JV and sophomore teams, Bower played a much as two games per week last season.
“That really helped with my transition to linebacker,” he said. “I knew a little bit about playing linebacker because I was a middle linebacker in junior high, but learning the plays in high school was somewhat difficult.
“I learned a lot and developed a lot by playing that much last season.”
Bower credits East’s defensive lineman with giving him the space to make plays.
“Those guys have been doing their jobs perfectly, opening up gaps and helping me out,” he said. “They have made my job 100 times easier.”