SUMMIT, NJ — There was no stopping Jake Lowry on Saturday, Nov. 12.
Summit High School football fans who were there at Upper Tatlock Field saw his explosiveness at its best: four touchdowns and a game-high 187 yards rushing.
When Lowry, No. 17, sprinted for a 52-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for his fourth and final score of the day, Summit took the lead for good.
Lowry’s outstanding running helped lead the host Hilltoppers to a 32-30 triumph against Pascack Valley Regional High School in last year’s first North 2, Group 3 Regional Invitational Tournament championship game.
Summit won its final three games to finish better than .500 at 6-5 and take home a trophy, despite not qualifying for the state playoffs.
Lowry, who rushed for a team-leading 1,204 yards, was a big part of that.
On Sunday, June 11, before he continues his playing days in college at Division 3 University of Chicago, Lowry will get to represent the rich tradition that defines Summit football once again.
Lowry is one of eight players from Union County high schools on the North roster for this year’s annual Phil Simms NJ North/South All-Star Football Classic.
At Media Day at Kean University on Sunday, March 19, Lowry confirmed he will be a running back at Chicago. On the initial North roster, Lowry (5-10, 180) is listed as a defensive back.
Lowry had 11 tackles last year, including one for a loss, a forced fumble and one interception, when he played on defense in the secondary for the much-improved Hilltoppers.
Summit won six of its final eight games in 2022, following a rare 0-3 start.
“This means a lot to play in this game,” Lowry said. “I heard a lot about it.”
Summit head coach Kevin Kostibos, who at Media Day made sure to shout out, “go North,” is on the North’s executive committee, along with his father, Barry Kostibos, a longtime coach at several schools.
Kevin Kostibos is a 1999 Hanover Park High School graduate who played for the Hornets and then in college at Johns Hopkins University.
Kostibos has been the head coach at Summit since 2013 and has guided the Hilltoppers to their last two state championships in 2013 and 2018, both in North 2, Group 3.
“There’s a lot of history at Summit, which is known as an esteemed program,” Lowry explained.
Lowry also considered Johns Hopkins University and some Ivy League schools. His father, James, and his mother, Camellia, met at the University of Chicago’s graduate business school. When asked if he didn’t mind being that far from home, he smiled and said, “Not at all.”
Home, as far as the game being played in Union County, is where Lowry will play his final high school game in three months.
“Yeah, with the game being close to home at Kean, I’ll look forward to having the support of my teammates here,” Lowry said.
Phil Simms, who played in one of these kinds of all-star games following his senior year in high school in 1973 in Kentucky before playing at Morehead State University, spoke to the players and their parents.
Keeping his speech short, Simms made it clear that the parents should be proud of their sons for being selected to play in the game and that he looks forward to another outstanding battle between some of the best players in the North clashing with some of the best from the South.
The South leads the series, which began in 1979, 20-19-2, so a win by the North will tie things up.
Photos by JR Parachini