Jaykob Dow had a great junior varsity season, but after his freshman year, he wanted to focus on basketball.
Hermon's Jaykob Dow stands on the Hermon High School football field on Thursday before practice. The Hawks are gearing up for their Class C North semifinal showdown with No. 3 Oceanside on Friday. Credit: Adam Robinson / BDN

Jaykob Dow quit football after his freshman year.

Dow had had a great junior varsity season, Hermon coach Kyle Gallant said, and he was excited to see Dow progress. But Dow decided against coming back.

The COVID-19 pandemic altered high school football in Maine during Dow’s sophomore year, virtually kicking linemen to the side while playing seven-on-seven football. But it wasn’t the pandemic that made Dow lose interest.

“I don’t think I’ve ever told [Gallant] this, I told him it was because of COVID and linemen couldn’t do things, but I just didn’t want to play,” Dow said.

The 6-foot-6 Dow came back to the sport, and now as a senior is getting offers from Division I college football teams while leading both offensive and defensive lines of the Hermon Hawks to the Class C North regional final. He also was named a Big 11 Conference first-team offensive tackle.

But it wasn’t always like that. Dow wanted to focus on basketball.

“He was able to work on his basketball game and he thought he was going to be a basketball player,” Gallant said.

“He called me and said, ‘Coach, I think I’m going to be a basketball player. COVID made me lose my love for the game.’ I flat out told him, ‘Look, I have no problem that you think you’re going to be a basketball player but if you think that you’re going to get scholarships for basketball or football, it’s going to be football.’”

Gallant wanted to see if he could talk Dow back onto the team during the summer after Dow’s sophomore year.

“I can be persuasive,” Gallant said. “He really wasn’t going to play. We had a few conversations over the phone, and I persuaded him to come back to play, and I don’t think he has regretted it. He’s loving every minute of it and look where he is now.”

Dow decided to return to the football team his junior year and played tight end and defensive end.

“It was different coming back,” Dow said. “I got a lot of weird looks because I wasn’t playing. I played tight end and defensive end, but I wasn’t much of a tight end.”

Dow has moved to offensive tackle and defensive tackle and is getting offers from college football teams. The senior has scholarship offers from Chattanooga and Presbyterian, and has a walk-on offer from Boston College. Dow said he’s in talks with other schools too, but is focused on football right now.

On offense, his tall frame helps the Hawks’ offense score 28.2 points per game. This season, Hermon’s running back Gary Glidden has 15 touchdowns and 1,395 yards, thanks in part to Dow’s play.

“He blocks really well,” Gallant said. “Jaykob is really smart. If you focus on him and watch the games, you’ll see he’s communicating and telling everyone where we’re going and he’s making calls. He’s making it through the whole line. He’s knowledgeable, has a big body, really athletic for his size and does a great job up front, just like the other guys do.”

After Hermon lost 20-0 to Cheverus in Week 4, Gallant moved Dow from defensive end to defensive tackle. He also moved Glidden from linebacker to defensive end. Since then, the Hawks have allowed just 6.6 points per game.

“I’m not the quickest guy, obviously, but me and Hunter Kenna in the middle, they have to double me every time and then Gary is the strongest pound-for-pound guy on the team and he throws people around off the end and I clog up the middle to let our linebackers go so it’s been big,” Dow said. “It’s easier because you don’t have to worry about containing, you just have to be better than the guy across from you. It’s the simplest thing on defense.”

Dow is leading the lines and also the team, but quietly.

He’ll help teammates whenever called upon, but said he’s not a “ra-ra leader.”

“I’m not a huge vocal guy that gets everyone riled up,” Dow said. “I just do my job and just do what I’m supposed to do for the team. I try to help out the underclassmen as much as I can in practice and so I guess that’s how I would lead.”

During his freshman year, Dow noticed that the upperclassmen didn’t talk with the underclassmen much. As a senior, Dow knows all the freshmen player’s names. After games, the team goes out to eat and are all constantly hanging out together.

The team is close this year, and Gallant said it’s a fun team to coach and that Dow has been an important part of the team’s success.

“I will go 0-8 with these guys and have a great time with them,” Gallant said. “When you have those seniors up front, that senior class is a lot of fun and that offensive line has been a big part of why Gary Glidden was what he was this year.”

Avatar photo

Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson is a native of Auburn, Maine, and graduate of Husson University and Edward Little High School. He enjoys sports, going on runs and video games.