Every time she steps onto the football field, Seabreeze quarterback McKenzie Bowlus seems to do something amazing. Whether she throws a ton of touchdown passes, returns a punt for a touchdown in the final seconds, scores on a fourth-and-long or throws a game-winning touchdown pass, Bowlus continues to prove that her confidence in her team and her individual talents are on another level.
While some media members have voted her among the best quarterbacks in the county since her freshman year, she hasn’t always believed that.
“My freshman year as the starting quarterback was tough for me,” Bowlus said. “Although I knew what I was doing, it was still a challenge. I got talked about at school, how I shouldn’t be playing, and how flag football was a sport for people who could actually play. Every time I made a bad throw, I felt like I always got put down, but never built up.”
Bowlus discovered her throwing skill as a kid, when she would throw the football around the yard with her younger and older brothers. Her talent developed so well, she became the only girl on the recreational football team, a starter.
“There’s something special about everyone, but as for me, I was born to be an athlete,” Bowlus said.
Years later, while on the Seabreeze basketball team, she began to throw a football with, then flag football player, Alijea Russell. After catching spiral after spiral, Russell was convinced there was a place on the team for Bowlus.
“I knew we needed a quarterback, and as soon as I saw her throw, I knew immediately that she was the girl we needed,” Russell said.
Bowlus finished that season with 36 touchdown passes and was honored as the Bright House Top Athlete at their annual Breakfast of Champions ceremony.
This season, she has displayed an exceptional ability to make plays from any side of the ball, and she has her and the Lady Sandcrabs’ confidence at an all-time high.
“She always surprises me,” Russell added. “This year has, by far, been her best year. She amazes me every time she plays, but when she makes a good play, she always looks at me and all I can think is ‘That’s my girl.’”
Bowlus has come a long way from the freshman who lacked confidence as the fearful leader. After every play, she can be seen encouraging and congratulating teammates on the field as the leader, a position she takes pride in.
“Being the leader showed everyone that I didn’t give up,” Bowlus said. “I made it where I wanted to be, because I wouldn’t let people put me down, no matter what they said. “If you truly love a sport as much as I as I love this one, nobody should be able to stop you.”
BOX: SEABREEZE TAKES DOWN FPC LADY DAWGS
The Sandcrabs (8-2) had very little problems moving the ball up and down the field against the Flagler Palm Coast Bulldogs, as they beat them 28-7 in the regular-season finale on Tuesday, April 21, at FPC.
McKenzie Bowlus, who threw for 215 yards and four touchdowns, connected with her favorite receiver, Kaley Dale, with three scores and Mikayla Laks for the other. Dale finished with over 100 receiving yards, and Laks had 75 yards, also six flag pulls on defense. The Lady Crabs will play rivals, Spruce Creek, in the first round of the district tournament at 7:30 Monday, April 27, at Warner Christian.