HEBRON – Justin Lowe misses being a linebacker. He just misses football in general.
Though he’ll have to wait a little while on the former, the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl is helping him cope with the latter.
Lowe had heard some of his former Mt. Blue High School teammates talk about what a unique experience playing in the Lobster Bowl is.
Lowe, however, was skeptical.
“You think, ‘Yeah, it’s going to be just another football camp.’ But you get down here, and it’s totally different from the get-go,” he said.
“It’s been amazing,” he added. “The people have been great, and it’s for a great cause. This game is played for the kids. That’s what we represent.”
For Lowe, this Friday’s Lobster Bowl (7:30 p.m., Waterhouse Field in Biddeford) not only represents one last chance to play under the Friday night lights, also to leave high school football on a positive note.
“It’s a good way to end my high school career,” he said.
It’s certainly a much better way than how his senior season ended. During the second half kickoff in Mt. Blue’s game against Mt. Ararat, Lowe took a hit around his knee and tore his MCL. He missed the final six games of the season.
The injury ended not only Lowe’s season, also essentially took the Cougars’ season with it. Missing the heart of their defense, they faded down the stretch.
During his junior year, Lowe, a linebacker, was one of the best defensive players in the state. He set a school single-season record for tackles (he was about 20 shy of the career record when he got hurt) and led the Cougars to the Class A state championship game, where they lost to Bonny Eagle. He was an all-conference selection in the Pine Tree Conference and a Sun Journal All-Region linebacker.
Watching the Cougars fall apart from the sidelines during his senior year was tough, Lowe said, but he still had plenty of incentive to work hard on rehabilitating the knee. Doctors repaired the ligament and cleared Lowe to resume running in February. He played baseball in the spring and was one of the Cougars’ top hitters.
“My knee’s doing excellent,” he said. “I’ve spent all summer working on it with therapy, and it’s holding up real well.”
It continued to hold up well during practice sessions for the Lobster Bowl this week. Getting used to contact again hasn’t been an issue. Getting used to a new position has, though. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Lowe is playing defensive end for the East
“I’ve had to learn some new things, but defense is where I play,” Lowe said.
Starting next month, Maine Maritime will be where Lowe plays. And he’ll be right back at his familiar spot at linebacker.
“It will be nice,” he said. “I miss linebacker.”