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Stinger back position gives Hornets' Cowan new excitement for '21



The old saying is that "every kid wants to be a quarterback.''

And former Seaman star Dalton Cowan got that opportunity for the bulk of his football career.

But when it came time to think about his final two seasons for Emporia State, Cowan quickly got on board with making a position switch and will line up at the Hornets' stinger back position when ESU opens its 2021 season at Northeastern State Saturday night (6 p.m. kickoff).

Cowan, a 6-foot-3, 204-pound redshirt junior, started at QB for the Hornets for the majority of the '19 season, passing for 1,683 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushing for 241 yards and six TDs.

But when Braden Gleason took over as the Hornets' starter late in the season, Cowan started thinking about the best way he could help the Hornets moving forward and made the decision to become an S-back.

20190815 Football Offense Prtrts 0056 CowanEmporia State redshirt junior Dalton Cowan and the Hornets will open their 2021 season Saturday night at Northeastern State. [Photo courtesy of Emporia State Athletics]

DaltonCowanFormer Seaman star Dalton Cowan is excited for Emporia State's 2021 season after making the switch from quarterback to stinger back. [Photo courtesy of Emporia State Athletics]

"My dad (Jeff) was caught completely off guard and everybody that I told was caught completely off guard, but when I sat those last two games I was thinking, 'Man, I could really help the team doing this other position and I think I would enjoy it a lot,' '' Cowan said.

"I never gave it much thought, but I always thought, 'I could play receiver, I could play something else.' ''

Having the 2020 season canceled due to COVID-19 gave Cowan plenty of time to adjust to his new position.

"I love it,'' he said. "I've never had more fun playing football.  A lot of teams call it an H-back. It's truly like an all-purpose position. I'll be split out, I'll line up in the backfield as a fullback and I'll be attached as a tight end, so I'm all over.

"The versality of the position is awesome, but the thing I like most about it is the physical part because I always liked running the ball as a quarterback and I liked the true physcal part of the game. I always thought that I'd really enjoy something like this, and now that I'm doing it I really am.''

Emporia State coach Garin Higgins said he couldn't be prouder of the way Cowan has handled what could have been a tough situation.

"He thought differently than 90 percent of quarterbacks do around the country,'' Higgins said. "What happens now with the transfer portal is, 'If I don't get to play, if I'm not starting, then I'm going to take my ball and go play somewhere else.

"Dalton doesn't have that mentality and that's why I love him. He has been unbelievable not only in how he has come along in that (S-back) position but also in a leadership role as well. He's going to make our stinger back a better position.''

Cowan's twin brother, Reid, and twin sister, Riley, have joined Dalton in the Emporia State fold as freshman, with Reid on the football team and Riley playing soccer.

"My parents are definitely liking it,'' Dalton Cowan said. "We're super close and it's kind of cool because when I was a senior in high school they were in eighth grade so I've never got to be on the same team with Reid and I've never got to go to school with either of them.''

Reid and Riley live in dorms as freshmen, but Dalton said the Cowan siblings will still have plenty of opportunities to spend time together.

"My house is literally right across the street from campus and I've got dogs that they are obsessed with, so I'm sure I'll see plenty of them.''

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