Two more scholarships for ECHS

Published 4:11 am Monday, June 25, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
Escambia County High School's football team bumped the number of graduated seniors moving on to college up to four Thursday when LaTrenton Bowens and Rodrick Gaston inked deals with community colleges.
Bowens signed a scholarship to play football for North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, Iowa.
"I am very excited at the chance to start off at a community college and get stronger and faster before moving on to a four-year college," Bowens said.
His senior season at ECHS garnered him Atmore Advance All-Star honors with 147 tackles and six sacks from the linebacker position. ECHS head coach Kyle Davis said he knew Bowens would sign somewhere.
"He really matured as a football player in his time here at ECHS," Davis said. "He had grade issues his sophomore year and had to sit out, but he worked hard to become eligible for his junior season and he did. And in his senior season I could tell before the season started that he was poised and ready to go. We knew he was a special athlete and it was only a matter of finding the right fit for him."
Davis said his hard work and great attitude are what landed Bowens a spot on a college roster.
"He works hard and the sky is the limit for him," he said. "I know he will do good those two years and move on to a four-year school."
Bowens said he would not have been able to sign the scholarships without the guidance of his coaches.
"If not for the coaches here at ECHS, I don't know if I would be here today," he said. "I want to thank coach Davis for being on my shoulder and pushing me on my classwork. And I want to thank coach Casaday for searching around for a place for me to sign with. We had a lot of success this year as a team and I was glad to be a part of it."
Bowens said he couldn't wait for the new experience that is college.
"This will be a new experience for me, but I know I will be able to get used to the new environment."
Gaston took a different route to a college scholarship. He used his vocal chords to land a paid ride to Faulkner State Community College to sing in the choir.
"I have heard Rodrick sing many times and he has a beautiful voice," Davis said. "He used his talents outside the football field to get into college. And that is great because it goes to show that athletes are not talented at only one thing."
ECHS offensive line coach William Casaday believes Gaston's talent will carry him through life.
"He will have singing throughout his life," Casaday said. "He will never get hurt singing and he can make a living no matter what with his singing career."
Gaston was shocked when he heard he was going to be signed.
"It feels real good to be going to college and I can't believe I made it," he said. "It is a very big challenge for me. Singing is something I have been doing all my life and God gave that talent to me and if I don't want it to go away I need to use it. I want to thank coach Casaday for everything he has done and all his support."
The signing of Bowens and Gaston gives the 2006 football team a total of four signees and the school's total number of athletes who signed a scholarship increases to 10 students.

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