Stephen Bowen Jr. certainly has the credentials of a top athlete. The Half
Hollow Hills West senior is a standout on the football field and the basketball
But in his Dix Hills household, bragging rights are tough to come by. Not
only were his parents once athletes at Roosevelt, twin sisters Nichole and
Nyesha are budding stars, too.
In fact, Nichole, a 5-3 junior, is an outside hitter on the girls
volleyball team. Hills West won its second straight Suffolk Class B volleyball
title this fall, and in 2000 became the first Suffolk program to win a state
title in the sport.
"They were state champions," Stephen Bowen said. "I thought it was great
they got a chance to play for a state title and win."
Bowen paused a moment, then added, "But I'm still the best athlete."
This week is a big one for Bowen. The 6-5, 245-pound Bowen plans to sign a
national letter of intent today with Hofstra to play football. It's the
culmination of a lifelong dream.
He won't have long to enjoy the moment, however. The Hills West boys
basketball team is in the midst of a desperate playoff push for a spot in the
Suffolk Class B bracket. Bowen, the team's center and leader with 19-point and
12-rebound averages, will lead Hills West against Huntington in a crucial
League IV basketball game Friday.
Pressure moments and dire straights are nothing new to Bowen. Just look at
his contributions last fall. The Hills West football season was on the brink
with two games remaining in the regular season. The team was 3-3 and had lost
its top offensive threat in fullback Connor Hagans.
Bowen switched from tight end to fullback and Hills West won its final two
games to make the Suffolk Division III playoffs. Bowen, a pure athlete who
thrived all season on defense at middle linebacker, ran for 120 yards and two
touchdowns in the semifinals, where the Colts fell to Huntington, 34-27.
"I compare him to someone like Melvin Fowler [a 1997 graduate who played
center for Maryland this season]," Hills West football coach Kyle Madden said.
"Melvin is someone who is going to get drafted into the NFL. That's the path
Stephen may have coming out of here. Stephen is someone you design your defense
While Bowen was a productive player on offense - he had nine touchdowns -
he was a force at linebacker, where he tallied 97 tackles. Bowen, who was also
recruited heavily by another Division I-AA power in Villanova, said he chose
Hofstra after visiting the campus in December. Hofstra coaches envision him as
a defensive end in college.
"He definitely came into his own this year," Madden said. "And he's going
to have a great career at Hofstra. He started to learn how to win, and he's
going to take the next step at Hofstra."
Bowen is one of several Long Island football players who will take the next
step in their careers by signing today. All-Long Island tackles Chris Auletta
and D'Brickashaw Ferguson head a talented class. Auletta, who won a CHSFL Class
AAA title with St. Anthony's, is headed to Penn State. Thorp Award winner