New Hall Of Famer: Bowles Learned To Hit With No Face Mask

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2012

By Brian Pitts
Davie Enterprise Record

When freshmen showed up for football practice back in Ed Bowles’ day, Davie coach Jack Ward had a contact drill that would separate the men from the boys.
The drill left no doubt who was tough enough to play football. If you’re a pad-popper with no face mask, you’re a true player. Bowles, face mask or not, didn’t back down.  
“Coach Ward would find out if you were tough,” said the 68-year-old Bowles, who was inducted in the Davie High Athletic Hall of Fame on Aug. 24 along with Mike McDaniel and Garick Hill. “He would have the face masks taken off. He put me in contact with big, big people. I was a freshman and they were seniors. Well, I broke my nose.”
The next day, Bowles knew he had passed the test when Ward walked up and handed him a face mask. The face mask was a day late for Bowles’ sore nose, but earning the face mask meant something in those days.  
“If you got through that, you put on a face mask,” Bowles said. “(Ward) said: ‘You’re going to be alright. I’ve got you a good face mask.’ My eyes were black. In fact, I had it operated on about 15 years ago. I’ve had it operated on twice.”
You can’t make that stuff up. Bowles was grit, determination and fearlessness as a lineman for the Davie Rebels, and he also was a key part of the baseball team before having a distinguished football career at Western Carolina …