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Going into his junior season, Cody Bowers was 100% all in: He wanted to play college football.
Bowers, now a senior defensive end/edge rusher at Woodside High School, was going to do whatever it took to make it to the next level. He dreamed of stepping on a college field and someday playing there.
Things were looking great, too. Six games into that campaign, he had 43 tackles, averaging 6.1 tackles per game and notched six sacks, with a pair of nine-tackle outings versus Leigh and Seaside sprinkled in there.
But, just as the year was heating up, Bowers’ junior campaign ended abruptly, tearing his MCL and dislocating his knee in game No. 7. Just like that, his season was done. He was on the sidelines, unable to play the rest of the year and instead standing there while everyone else played under the Friday night lights.
“It was a pretty big blow, and it was tough because physical therapy is a process and it’s slow, and that wasn’t that enjoyable,” Bowers said. “But I just again committed to the process of that, trying to do everything I could to get my knee, my body, my mind right, and I just kept telling myself once I’m able to hit it and I’m going to hit it hard, and I’m not going to stop until I see the results I want.”
Despite those trials and tribulations, Bowers never quit. He was going to come back better that ever and make those college dreams come true someday.
And his offseason path has him one step closer to making those a reality.
Bowers started working with a personal trainer in January. He committed himself to the process, staying patient and setting goals for each chapter of these past 11-plus months.
As a junior, Bowers was 195 pounds and dropped to 190 following the injury. He wanted to hit 200 for the summer, but that goal was hit well before that.
His next goal: 220 pounds, which he hit a few months ago. Then 225, which is what he’s currently at.
“I’m trying to be around 220-225,” Bowers said. “I’ve just mainly muscle mass, and I guess the mental part is just kind of like really seeing how bad I want this, and I took a lot of determination and commitment to really commit myself to an every day habit of just getting myself in the right body I need to be in. I’d say really strengthen my determination, resiliency and just the determination of that.”
At recent showcases and camps Bowers has attended, the results of that work have shown for the second team all-league lineman and Player of the Year for Woodside.
Colleges have come calling, too.
Six schools are on his offer list: George Fox, Lincoln, Pacific, Puget Sound, Whittier and Whitworth. A slew of Division II and Division I schools have also reached out.
“I think I’m looking for how those coaches are talking about on the phone, how they’re texting and kind of get a feel from that because visits are kind of hard this year, but I definitely want to find a good environment and school – both academically and athletically,” Bowers said. “I want to find a good brotherhood, a good family feel, good work ethic within the football team, and I want to be able to find the resources and tools on the academic side, after these four years are up to set me up for life to succeed.”
For Bowers, he’s ready to compete in a full slate of games and bolster hsi production and fi;m to get to the next level. After six games in six games, he wants 10-12 sacks. After 43 tackles in six games, he wants 80-100.
Plus, Bowers wants to bring Woodside back to the top.
“This year we, as of right now, we have a lot of good people that are interested in playing football that want to, that are willing to commit to it,” Bowers said. “This team when I was a sophomore and they were freshman, we came second in our conference, and we barely lost to Carlmont, so we’re kind of looking on a revenge type of season. We definitely want to take a hold of this conference.”
Where Bowers is at now – on the verge of another standout season on the football field – is a testament to never stop fighting and to persevere no matter what wrench life throws at you, instead finding a way to use a challenging time period to his advantage and become the best possible version of himself.
“I think football does a lot for a person to just how to become a man and how to become prepared for life, and I think it was just a good lesson,” Bowers said. “There’s definitely going to be a lot of obstacles, and it’s up to you to take it, try to hurdle the obstacle or if I’m going to let that injury kind of disable me mentally and physically and if I’m going to push past it or not.”
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