In Play with Tom Markowski


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Noel Dean preaches consistency, team play, Lowell responds, defeats DeLaSalle, 36-6

By: Tom Markowski, August 25, 2017, 10:06 pm

Detroit – If you want more insight on just how well-coached Lowell’s football team is just walk near the Red Arrows sidelines.

The only sounds you’ll hear are those of coach Noel Dean and his assistants. The players all stand in a line except those who are getting a rest on the bench. The players are aware of game situations, know when it’s time for the special team units go in and most importantly they talk to their position coaches to keep up with the changes that take place.

Then look at the action on the field. There you will see good high school players who are not exceptional fast nor are they exceptionally large. But they’re fast enough and they’re big enough to compete with any team in the state.

Just ask the coaching staff at Detroit King. Two seasons ago King pulled off stunning comeback and defeated Lowell 40-38 in the Division 2 final on the last play of the game.

On Friday Lowell whipped Warren DeLaSalle, 36-6, as part of the Prep Kickoff Classic at Wayne State.

Don’t get hung up on the victory or the score. Dean isn’t. And his players don’t celebrate as so many teams do. You won’t see any chest bumps. There isn’t any hooting or hollering. The players, led by their leader, David Kruse, a senior and three-year starter, trot off the field hand-in-hand with a teammate to the team bus. They don’t stop to mull around with fans or to answer question reporters might ask.

It’s Dean’s way. It’s Lowell’s way. It all comes together with the help of the community and parental involvement.  

There’s nothing special, on the surface, about Lowell and the way the Red Arrows play. Some might call it a vanilla offense. It’s strictly a run-based, midline type of offense and a defense that contains between the tackles with enough quickness on the outside to keep the big gains to a minimum.

Execution is the key. Repetition is the mechanism.

Lowell doesn’t have a Division I-level talent. There’s likely just a few college prospects at any level. In his 22 years as the head coach Dean has had one player sign with a Division I school.

During this time Lowell has won three state titles and lost in a championship game three other times.

Kruse was the star of the game rushing for three touchdowns and 128 yards on 26 carries. He was 2-of-8 passing for 52 yards. He was named team MVP by PKC officials.

Even this Dean disapproves. It gets back what he preaches. It’s a team game. Individual honors are not important. They can even be a distraction.

Lowell doesn’t even have captains. Dean hasn’t had a captain the last 18 seasons. The players who are selected to go out to midfield before the game for the coin toss are called just that, “coin-tossers”. It might not be a word in Webster’s but Dean uses it.

Don’t be misled. Kruse is a talented football player. As are teammates Connor and Brady Douma (pronounced Duma), brothers who play receiver, defensive back and return kicks. It was Brady’s 67-yard kickoff return that set up Lowell’s first touchdown, a 3-yard touchdown run by Kruse that gave the Red Arrows a 7-6 lead.

There are others. They’re just not on the or boards. They’re Lowell kids. They compete and many of them are also wrestlers, like Kruse.

“He’s a humble kid,” Dean said of Kruse. “Of course he wrestles. His brothers did. We have 18 players who had older brothers play here. Our kids are close-knit kids. They don’t get too high or too low. It’s been my philosophy. You won’t let one win or one loss dictate who we are. We’re really proud of our consistency.

“It’s a mindset. Our programs has got to that point where you have players who have no choice but to be a team player.    

“There’s a lot of pressure at Lowell to do things the right way, when you see all of these kids transferring from school to school. That’s the challenge.”