THS alums bowl-bound for Arizona
Ryan Lowe and Andrew Miller haven't been frantically making reservations and travel accommodations for an upcoming bowl.
After all, they'll be playing in a bowl game, not watching from the stands. And someone else is taking care of travel arrangements.
As members of the Hutchinson Community College football team, the former Tonganoxie High football players will compete Saturday in the Valley of the Sun Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
The match-up pits No. 13 Hutch (7-3) against No. 10 Glendale (8-2).
Miller, a 2003 THS grad, said a bowl season in his first collegiate year was perfect.
"It was just a lucky pick," Miller said. "We had the best recruiting class out of all the jucos.
"I think we just had enough talent to make it."
Miller has played in various positions on special teams and has played in each linebacker and lineman position on the Blue Dragon defense this season.
Lowe, a 2001 Tonganoxie graduate, is Hutchinson's place kicker. After sitting a year out from football last fall, Lowe came back this season and was named all-Kansas Jayhawk Community College second-team kicker. Lowe made five of 10 field goals and 22 of 23 point-after attempts.
The HCC sophomore attributed the team's success to first-year coach Craig Jersild.
"It was totally different he seemed to care a lot more," Lowe said. "He knew exactly what to do and what not to do and he took care of business."
The Blue Dragons finished third in the KJCCC behind No. 8 Coffeyville and No. 1 Butler County.
Coffeyville, which defeated HCC, 34-3, in the conference semifinals, faced Butler County in the conference finals. The Red Ravens had a 31-3 lead on the Grizzlies at one point, but Butler County rallied for a 45-38 win and will play in the national championship against No. 2 Dixie State College (Utah) in the Dixie Rotary Bowl on Saturday in St. George, Utah.
Coffeyville (9-3) lost its bowl game, 30-27, against No. 5 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (10-2) in the Dalton Defenders Bowl on Sunday in Coffeyville.
Hutch will be making its fourth trip to the Arizona bowl. The Blue Dragons lost to Glendale in 1993 (59-9) and Mesa, Ariz., (41-37) in 1994 before defeating Glendale, 33-8, in 1999.
Miller and Lowe left by bus Tuesday for Arizona. Although football always is the main objective for bowl trips, the team will have some leisure time. The players also will attend the Phoenix Suns-Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, something both Miller and Lowe are anticipating.
Miller isn't excited about the bus ride to the desert, but is eager for the getaway.
"It's like the first vacation I've taken in like four years," Miller said. "It will be exciting."