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Plano, Sandwich ready for ‘smashmouth football’

Trent Bowers fullback/defensive lineman for Plano High School is key player Reapers arsenal this year.
| Michele du Vair~For Sun-Times Media

Trent Bowers, a fullback/defensive lineman for Plano High School, is a key player in the Reapers arsenal this year. | Michele du Vair~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 9, 2012 2:45PM

Plano’s Trent Bowers and Sandwich’s Seth McDonald go back, way back. They won’t, however, be smiling at each other Friday.

The senior leaders of their respective football teams will meet for the third time as varsity players in tonight’s Interstate Eight Conference matchup between the neighboring schools that are separated by just 4.8 miles.

“It’s a super special game because I just hate Sandwich,” Bowers said. “Every year I’ve played on varsity I’ve lost to them and I don’t want that to happen my senior year. I’m looking forward to beating them.”

They were teammates on a Sandwich travel baseball team in fourth grade and played on opposite youth football teams even before that.

“I have (some) pretty good friends in Plano, but on Friday night, I’m not friends with them,” said McDonald. “We’re bringing it Friday. We’re bringing it. Once 7:30 hits, I have no friends in Plano at all. Maybe Saturday morning I’ll talk to them, we’ll see.”

And having the game the week of the Sandwich Fair just heightens by buzz, agrees Plano coach Jim Green and Sandwich coach Dusty Behringer.

“You’ll be hearing their names a lot,” Green said of Bowers and McDonald. “It will be ‘Ball carrier was …’ and ‘Tackled by …’ They’re very much involved.

“Trent is our lone all-conference returner. McDonald has been around for both their (long) playoff runs and is their top player as far as leadership goes. He’s got a lot of experience.”

The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Bowers plays fullback for the 2-0 Reapers, who have probably had the easier schedule thus far. The 6-1, 220-pound McDonald plays the same position for the 1-1 Indians’ offense. Both will catch a breather now and then on offense, because Green and Behringer want each of them on the field for defense as much as possible.

Bowers plays tackle, McDonald middle linebacker. And each offense will be trying to account for them.

Bowers and McDonald are birds of a feather when it comes to their favorite side of the ball.

“Defense, that’s where I shine more and it’s where I was brought up playing more,” said Bowers.

“Linebacker is definitely my better position,” said McDonald. “Linebacker is the best position in football, hands down. You get to make the hit.”

And with both teams running a Wing-T attack, they’ll see plenty of each other.

“They run a very similar offense to us,” said Bowers. “There’s a couple things they run that we don’t, but we’re pretty much playing against our own team.”

Sandwich has won two straight in the series but two of the last three have been decided by one point, and only one of the last five was decided by more than one score.

“Just pound ‘em and play smashmouth football,” Bowers said when asked what it will take to finally get that elusive win over Sandwich.

Bowers and McDonald aren’t best friends, but they easily could be.

“It’s gonna be smashmouth football,” McDonald said in response to the same question. “We’re not gonna pass that much, they’re not gonna pass that much. They’re gonna try to run it down our throats. We’re gonna try to run it down their throats.

“We’ve been going hard at it since we were six years old and now we’re 17, 18. This is the last time I have a shot at them unless we meet in the playoffs, so they’re gonna bring it and we’re gonna be bringing it too.”

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