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HE'S ROYALTY, JUST LIKE MOM

This Brandon defensive back is homecoming king 17 years after his mom was queen.

The first person DeAndre' Bowers called after being chosen homecoming king at Brandon High School Friday night was his mother.

"I got it, ma, I got it," he shouted into his cell just after being crowned.

His mother, Tiffani Conway, said she beamed with pride. After all, he's the second generation.

Conway had been voted homecoming queen at Brandon in 1991 - an honor she won eight months after Bowers was born.

"My friends and I made posters," she said. "And everyone was very supportive."

After being crowned, Conway, now 34, graduated from high school and enrolled in Hillsborough Community College the following fall.

"My mother was really there for me, and I was able to get my degree in criminal justice," Conway said of those difficult days as a teenage, single mother.

After getting her degree, Conway became a police officer in Bartow, then changed to a sales job so she could keep up with her three sons, ages 17, 9 and 5.

Bowers said when he told his grandmother, Carol Copney, he'd won, she couldn't stop congratulating him. "I can't remember ever seeing her that happy before," he said.

As far as Conway is concerned, her son has beaten the odds.

He plays defensive back on Brandon's football team, makes good grades and is interested in going to college on an academic scholarship.

"It's great that he's really into school, and he's motivated, and he just took his first SAT test Saturday," she said.

After winning, Bowers called his father, who lives in Bradenton, to share the good news as well.

"But I called my mom first," he said. "She's my inspiration."

Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or rmitchell@sptimes.com.

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