Lowery Takes Over as Coach at Cambridge
By BUBBA KAPRAL
CAMBRIDGE — Josh Lowery did a superb job of leading Cambridge as a quarterback. Now, the affable 34-year-old steps into the role as the Bobcats’ head coach.
Lowery takes over for Kevin Gunn who resigned after last season, just a year after being named the Eastern District Coach of the Year and leading the Bobcats into the playoffs.
Lowery, who previously served as Cambridge head baseball coach, embraces his new challenge while understanding the position brings with it much more responsibility.
“It feels different for sure (being a head coach). There are a lot more things you have to deal with,” Lowery said. “But the transition has went well. Coach Gunn has been a big help. I am excited about the opportunity.
“Our philosophy is for our kids to be accountable and be tough-minded. They have been working very hard. We just need leadership from our older kids.
“Offensively, we have not changed. The biggest thing is we have a new coach running the defense. I am optimistic about the season but like last year we will be asking a lot of younger players to step up and contribute on the varsity level.”
Cambridge lost 15 players via graduation from last year’s 3-7 club.
The biggest challenge Lowery’s club may face is an arduous schedule. The Bobcats always must deal with fellow ECOL members Dover and New Philadelphia, both perennial powers. Toss in Wheeling Park, Indian Creek, John Glenn and Meadowbrook and the Bobcats’ 10-game card is challenging to say the least.
“The schedule is demanding for sure. Playing Park, Dover and New Philadelphia in successive weeks is really tough,” Lowery said. “But that is what we come to expect at Cambridge. I think we can be competitive week-in and week-out.”
Lowery will again direct the Bobcats offense. He likes his team’s speed while also welcoming back some talented skilled performers.
Cooper Kerns (5-foot-9, 160 pounds) returns under center. The multifaceted playmaker is coming off a solid junior campaign, completing 121 of 201 passes for 1,380 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also rushed for 313 yards and three more scores.
Kerns is backed by promising junior Cody Moore (6-0, 165). Moore saw late-season action.
“I feel good about our quarterbacking situation,” Lowery said. “Cooper can make plays while Cody is more of a pocket passer. I have confidence in both.”
Shifty senior Logan Tuttle (5-7,155) was the team’s leading rusher last fall. The two-time letterwinner gained 565 yards while reaching the end zone four times.
Lowery is moving Tuttle to slotback this fall.
The move will result in Travon Jeffrey (5-10, 170) shouldering a large dose of the ball-carrying duties. The junior letterman packs potent speed.
Jeffrey will be spelled by Latrell Payton (6-0, 165). He is a junior letterman. Junior Khol Mobelini (6-1, 170) and sophomore Logan Mobelini (5-9, 155) also will see backfield duty.
Cambridge boasts one of the area’s finest wide receivers in Trent Valentine (5-10, 160). The speedy senior landed 51 passes for 698 yards and five TDs last fall while earning a slew of postseason accolades. He also took a punt return back for a touchdown.
Tuttle will also become a prime target with his switch to the slot while rising sophomore letterman Kaden Whaley (5-9, 165) will be a key in the receiver mix. Also expected to see extensive time at wideout is junior letterman David Moore (5-8, 160).
The offensive line should be a source of strength with three battle-tested bigs returning.
Senior Hunter Sovka (5-10, 200) returns at left tackle. Junior letterman Mason Ogle (5-10, 225) will again be the left guard. Junior letterman Cooper Conte (6-0, 210) is a quality and battle-tested center.
Promising sophomore Case Wilson (5-7, 195) is ticketed to take over at right guard while mammoth sophomore Collin Conte (6-3, 300) will move into the right tackle post.
O-line depth will be provided by senior lettermen Tyler Kline (6-0, 260) and Jad Mahayri (6-0, 200), along with sophomore Brock Valentine (6-0, 215).
Johnny Jones steps into the role as Cambridge’s defensive coordinator. He will switch the Bobcats into a 4-4 look, a move Lowery says, “better suits our personnel.”
Ogle and senior Bobby Miller (6-0, 190) will get the first call at tackle. Collin Conte and Kline will also see time.
Sovka and Cooper Conte are the starters at end. They will get a breather when needed from Mahayri.
Trent Valentine is an active outside linebacker and will be flanked by Jeffrey. Logan Bobelini and freshman Kaden Kenworthy (5-8, 130) are cast in reserve roles.
The inside linebackers will be David Moore and Khol Mobelini. Whaley and sophomore Blake Brumfield (5-9, 160) will also get calls inside.
The cornerbacks will be a pair of dandies in Tuttle and Payton. Sophomores Roman Jeffrey (5-10, 150) and DeVaughnte Best (6-1, 165) are capable reserves at the corner.
The safety slot will be handled by Kerns while Cody Moore is his backup.
Cambridge faced Bellaire, Buckeye Trail and Shenandoah in preseason scrimmages. The Bobcats launch their season Friday at Wintersville against Indian Creek.
“We have been bringing the kids in at 6 a.m. since March before school to workout. Our goal is to win the day … to get better every day,” Lowery said. “We want to keep improving and become mentally tougher. We are looking to change the culture.
“Depth is a concern as we will be having more kids go both ways.
“I can’t wait for the season to start.”
In addition to Jones, Lowery’s varsity coaching staff includes Ben Lambes, Devin Nichols, Riley Hayhurst, Tank Moore, Jalil Carter, Kyle Winland and J.R. Fox.