For­mer Air Force QB Dowis dies in car ac­ci­dent

The Daily Herald - - SPORTS - By Pat Gra­ham

DEN­VER — Weigh­ing just 153 pounds, for­mer Air Force op­tion quar­ter­back Dee Dowis wasn’t the most in­tim­i­dat­ing pres­ence. That is, un­til he got the ball in his hands.

Dowis, who fin­ished sixth in the Heis­man Tro­phy vot­ing in 1989, died in a car ac­ci­dent out­side At­lanta on Mon­day morn­ing, po­lice in Gwin­nett County, Ge­or­gia, con­firmed. He was 48.

As a lanky sopho­more in 1987, Dowis be­gan run­ning coach Fisher DeBerry’s triple-op­tion of­fense. He was an in­stant hit.

Dowis grad­u­ated as the academy’s ca­reer lead­ing rusher and had the high­est fin­ish ever for an Air Force player in the Heis­man vot­ing. Dur­ing that ‘89 sea­son, Dowis rushed for 1,286 yards and 18 touch­downs while throw­ing for 1,285 yards and seven touch­downs. He led the Fal­cons to an 8-4-1 record and an ap­pear­ance in the Lib­erty Bowl.

“Pound for pound, with­out a doubt, the great­est, most gifted and tal­ented player to maybe ever play the col­lege game,” DeBerry said in a phone interview Tues­day. “He proved you don’t have to be a phys­i­cal gi­ant to be a quar­ter­back in the tripleop­tion of­fense.”

As a trib­ute to Dowis, the Fal­cons rush-or­dered hel­met de­cals for their sea­son opener Sat­ur­day against Abi­lene Chris­tian. Other hon­ors are in the works, too.

Ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from the Gwin­nett County po­lice, Dowis was go­ing south in the north­bound lanes of I-85 early Mon­day when he pulled his 2014 BMW into the cen­ter me­dian. As he backed up, Dowis was hit in the driver’s side door by a 2015 Subaru driven by a 22-year-old from North Carolina. The other driver was trans­ported to a nearby hospi­tal.

The po­lice said Dowis wasn’t wearing a seat belt and died at the scene.

“It is still not clear what caused Dowis to travel down the in­ter­state in the wrong di­rec­tion. Speed does not ap­pear to be a con­tribut­ing fac­tor,” the re­lease said.

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