LAKEWOOD — Andy Lowry hasn’t had a problem being a football Dad in the stands of prep football games over the past four years.
The five-time state championship football coach at Columbine High School enjoys standing behind the D’Evelyn Jaguars’ sideline to watch is son Thomas Lowry make his own mark. Thomas has been a big part of D’Evelyn football program on both sides of the football as a defensive back and receiver.
“My Dad does help me out and gives me some pointers every once in a while. (D’Evelyn coach Jeremy Bennett) knows about passing and my Dad doesn’t pass it,” Thomas joked after he had four catches for 60 yards and a pair of touchdowns in D’Evelyn’s 44-13 victory over Denver West on Saturday afternoon at Trailblazer Stadium.
Thomas grew up watching his Dad win a handful of Class 5A state championships at Columbine, but the now senior at D’Evelyn decided he would go in his own direction before entering high school.
“Going to Dennison (Elementary) and D’Evelyn we kind of knew he was on that path. He was doing really well academically,” Coach Lowry said. “Coach Bennett has done a great job with his great program. Sometimes playing for your Dad is awfully hard. I not sure I wanted that pressure on him.”
It has all worked out.
Thomas is one of the top receivers in Class 2A with 32 catches for 618 yards and seven touchdowns through six games. He is a jack-of-all trades starting at receiver and safety, along with the Jaguars’ punt and kickoff returner, and don't forget he is the holder on field goals.
“I grew up on the sideline every game at Columbine being ballboy,” Thomas said. “I’ve been around football players and coaches all my life. That has definitely helped me out with my football IQ.”
Thomas has been a ballhawk defensively with eight career interceptions.
“Thomas is an extension of our (coaching) staff,” Bennett said. “He sees things sometimes because of his upbringing on being on a football field so much. Most important for us, he is an outstanding teammate and unanimous captain voted on by his teammates.”
Columbine’s — five yards and a cloud of dust — and physical defense that Lowry brought to the Rebels’ program in the mid-1990s turned Columbine into a perennial powerhouse in the largest classification for the past two decades. However, D’Evelyn was a great place for Coach Lowry’s oldest child to thrive both academically and athletically.
“It’s a fit for Thomas,” Bennett said. “What we do and his size. He catches the ball and runs fast. I think Andy wanted to give Thomas a different experience than what he could offer (at Columbine). We are sure glad he stayed.”
Bennett admitted he was surprised when Thomas talked to him during his eighth-grade year at D’Evelyn and told Bennett he wouldn’t be leaving to join his Dad at Columbine.
“He (Thomas) has really made his own path,” Coach Lowry said. “I’m really proud of him. He has made his own success at D’Evelyn and is having a great career over there.”
Bennett said the Lowry Family has been great in supporting the Jaguars as Thomas wraps up his high school football career at D’Evelyn. Also, Bennett likes the fact that he has the chance during games to bounce things off the five-time state champion coach.
“Andy has been amazing,” Bennett said. “I’ll go to the fence every once in a while because you have Andy Lowry standing over there so go get his opinion. A lot of times he is like, ‘Gee, shoot Coach. Can you run trap here?’ Andy has been great. I think he enjoys watching his kid and not having the pressure to coach him.”
The pressure on D’Evelyn (4-2, 2-0 in 2A Flatirons League) moving forward is to keep its postseason streak in alive. The Jaguars have qualified for the playoffs for four straight seasons, but might have to win a conference title to make it five.
Opening-season losses to No. 8 TCA and No. 9 Eaton put D’Evelyn behind the eight-ball when it comes to having to possibly win its final seven games to make the 16-team 2A state tournament field.
“Just to win league to win league would be great. I think I have more runner-up finishes than anyone in the history of Jefferson County,” Bennett said. “I think it will probably take that for us.”
Thomas Lowry will be a big piece as the Jaguars attempt to win-out.
“We’ve been to the playoffs the last three years,” Thomas said. “Hopefully we can get a fourth.”
No matter what happens, Thomas will have a very experienced football coach and Dad in his corner.
“It goes so quick. It’s hard to believe he is senior,” Coach Lowry said. “I’m just really proud of him. He is a really good football player, but also a great kid and young man.”