Sidney Daily News
Last Friday night, Northwestern Class of 2018 commit Isaiah Bowser ran for 205 yards on 19 carries in Sidney (Ohio)’s 42-0 win over West Carrollton.
For most high school running backs, that would be considered an excellent game, perhaps a career-high. But for Bowser, that represented an off night. It was less than half of his rushing ouput in the previous game, when he totaled an obscene 413 yards on 41 carries in a 55-48 barnburner over Xenia to set a school record.
At least “I had 100 receiving yards, so it wasn’t too bad,” said Bowser of his game against West Carrollton.
That’s the kind of year it’s been for Bowser, a three-star prospect who committed to Northwestern in July: 309 yards of offense and three touchdowns is “not bad.” In fact, his 205 rushing yards drove his average yards per game down.
Take a look at Bowser’s ridiculous game-by-game rushing totals this season:
Aug. 25 vs. Memorial: 23 carries, 205 yards, 2 TD
Sept. 1 vs. Bellefontaine: 45 carries, 321 yards, 3 TD
Sept. 8 vs. Carroll: 26 carries, 304 yards, 3 TD
Sept. 15 vs. Xenia: 41 carries, 413 yards, 6 TD
Sept. 22 vs. West Carrollton: 19 carries, 205 yards, 2 TD
Those epic performances add up to 154 carries, 1,448 yards and 16 touchdowns. In five games. He’s averaging 31 carries, 290 yards and a fraction more than three scores per contest. He gains an average of 9.4 yards every time he touches the ball, even if everyone in the stadium knows that he’s getting it.
Justin Jackson is called The Ballcarrier at Northwestern, yet Bowser has 76 fewer yards in five games this season than Jackson had in 13 games last year, his best at NU.
“I always wanted to have a great season,” said Bowser of his so-far magical run. He started his senior year with the goal of breaking Sidney’s single-game rushing record. He accomplished that in Week 2. And then again in Week 4.
“It’s getting crazy,” he said.
Bowser, a 6-foot, 200-pounder with 4.5 speed in the 40, says he doesn’t find out until after the game how many yards he ran for, but he gets an idea during the game.
“I start to feel it after a while, and I sort of approximate it,” he said. By the time he got to the fourth quarter against Xenia, for example, he figured “I had about 350, so I wanted to see if I could get to 400.” (Just for good measure, Bowser also threw two halfback passes for 90 yards and yet another TD in that contest.)
Rivals recruiting expert Josh Helmholdt sees a lot of similarities between Bowser and Northwestern’s star tailback Jackson in terms of his running style.
“An 11.44 100-meter guy, Bowser has good, not great, downfield speed, but what he does even better is get to top speed quickly,” wrote Helmholdt, who identified Bowser as one of the prospects on the rise in the Midwest. “He also shows great balance and is a load for defenders to try and bring down.”
Bowser has lugged the rock more than 40 times twice, both times in games that were decided by single digits. The rushes take their toll, but Bowser’s body is accustomed to the workload.
“I get tired, but I’m getting used to it,” he said. “Last year (when Bowser totaled 1,877 yards and 31 TDs), I played defense too. This year, I’m not playing too much defense, but I still get a little sore.”
Bowser says he plays linebacker or safety “when the team needs me to,” so he’s expecting to line on the other side of the line of scrimmage on occasion this weekend against rival Piqua.
After he put 400 yards on Xenia on a Friday night, Bowser and his mother put about 280 miles on the car’s odometer on Saturday, driving to Northwestern for an unofficial visit. It was Mrs. Bowser’s first trip to Northwestern, and the two of them watched the Wildcats demolish Bowling Green 49-7.
“A lot of the commits were there and it was nice seeing the game-day atmosphere at Northwestern,” said Bowser, whose only previous visit to Northwestern was for a camp in June. “It was pretty crazy in there.”
Bowser got to spend time with all of NU’s coaches, especially running backs coach Matt MacPherson. He also met for the first time cornerback commit Greg Newsome, who he will room with as a freshman next season.
“It was a great visit,” he said.
Bowser is looking forward to becoming a Wildcat next season, but he has some unfinished business to attend to this season first.
As you might expect, Bowser’s joystick-like numbers are fueling one of the best seasons in Sidney history. The Yellowjackets, now 5-0, have already eclipsed their victory total from last season. They are also all but assured a playoff berth for the first time since 1989, well before Bowser was born.
“Our goal is to make the playoffs and win the (Great Western Ohio) conference,” he said. Sidney has won just four league titles since 1937, so this is becoming a historic season for both Bowser and the Yellowjackets. Especially Bowser’s offensive line.
“They get full credit,” said Bowser. “What I get, they all get. They know that, too.”