It was a season of significant improvement for the Albert Lea Tigers’ football program. Although they only won two games, for a team that won two games in the three years prior, it was a step in the right direction. It should proceed an even more significant jump in the win column in 2019. One of the Tigers’ players also made a significant jump and is poised for even bigger things this fall. That player is Javarus Owens.
“We improved a lot from the season before and grew as a team,” Owens said. “We started slow, but we picked it up the second half of the season and played to our potential. It was a good development year, and a good building block for next season.”
At the mid-point of the season, the team made a significant jump. When the Tigers lost, it was by a score or less, and they picked up some wins down the stretch too.
“Our mentality changed,” Owens explained. “Instead of letting the other team come to us, we started to dictate the game. We made teams change because of what we were doing.”
Their style of play reflected the improved game results.
“When we stuck to the run game and our fundamentals – it really showed. Once we established the run, we were able to stay in games,” the two-way starter said. “When we started attacking on defense, we were a good run-stopping team.”
Owens was happy with his junior season but is looking for even bigger things this fall.
“I thought I had an okay year. I am ready to show off what I can really do this season. My junior year was a good year to improve, but I am ready to break out this season.”
On offense, Owens starts at running back.
“I am a shifty runner. I feel like I can read the hole well and know when to cut,” the 6’0″ 175-pound athlete said. “When I get in the open field, I have the speed to separate from defenders.”
Defensively, he lines up at corner.
“I usually moved with the best receiver and manned up on him,” Owens said. “I need to work on my press coverage, but I am quick, I can jump the ball and read the receivers’ routes.”
Owens expects to make a position change for his senior year.
“I will be playing on both sides of the ball, but I am getting moved to safety on defense. I played a little bit of safety last year. With the guys we graduated, the coaches wanted me to step into a bigger role on the defense.”
The soon to be three-year, the two-way starter has been focused on improving a specific area of his game.
“I have been working on improving my footwork on both sides of the ball,” said Owens, who enjoys reading biographies. “I am just making sure my cuts are right and using repetition, making sure my footwork is there all the time.”
While all the time spending time in the weight room focusing on higher reps and lower weight is also a three-sport athlete.
“I was the starting point guard and captain. My role was to make sure everybody was involved and to be a leader. I just joined track this year to get my speed, agility, and endurance up.”
Owens also spent some time on college campuses.
“I went camps at SDSU and UND. They were good experiences – being able to go up against some different competition and take away stuff from other players and different coaches. It helped for me to get in front of college coaches.”
Right now, the soon to be senior has two schools looking at him.
“Minnesota-Duluth and South Dakota State are the top two I have focused on. Both programs see me as a running back. They like the way I can create in open space and make people miss in the open field. They like my breakaway speed and ability to break tackles.”
If Owens has the senior season he expects, both the Tigers this season and a college program two years from now will both be taking steps in the right direction.