As the Lowell football team prepares to face Lincoln in the Turkey Bowl on Thursday for the San Francisco Section championship, one player the Cardinals figure to play a prominent role in their offense wasn’t even part of the game plan when the season began.
That odd wrinkle is due to the rejuvenated performance of Bismark Navarro, the explosive junior running back who is finally playing at full strength this year.
Because of nagging ankle problems that were hampering Navarro coming into the season, he was used solely on defense to start the year, allowing him to nurse his injuries before working himself back into the Cardinals’ potent rushing attack.
“He had some injuries that were keeping him from playing at top speed,” Cardinals coach Danny Chan said. “I think his biggest obstacle was the mental aspect of the whole thing. He didn’t really feel comfortable with his ankles, so it prevented him from really running well. Once he got healthy, he obviously became a key part of our offense.”
A healthy Navarro was on full display in the Cardinals’ 22-14 win over Mission in the section semifinals, as he rushed 16 times for 114 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown scamper that put the game away for Lowell.
As impressive as his statistical performance was in the Mission meeting, Navarro’s most remarkable attribute might have simply been his presence.
A reputable track standout (he is the defending section champ in the 100 and 200 meters), Navarro always get the utmost attention of an opposing defense, which in turn opens things up for his teammates.
“Everyone knows about Bismark and what he can do,” Chan said. “Whenever he is in the backfield, there are always warning flags on the other team’s defense. They can be so focused on him that it will open up plays for the other guys on this team.”
Navarro’s willingness to play a supporting role as well as a starring one is a testament to his humble attitude and Lowell’s selfless
“My role isn’t different than any of the other backs,” said Navarro, who also lines up at cornerback for the Cardinals. “We are all capable of making the big play and in this offense, that big play could happen any time.”
At Kezar Stadium
» No. 1 Lowell (10-1) vs. No. 2 Lincoln (9-2), 11 a.m.