City High Senior Quarterback Wells Makes Smooth Transition to Defense


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – A 2-6 record entering week nine wasn’t the season that anyone from City High envisioned this fall.

No Little Hawk pictured this season going a different direction more than Quincy Wells.

After three years of waiting for a shot at varsity stardom Wells was replaced as the starting quarterback just three games into his senior season.

Coming off back-to-back lopsided losses and suddenly without a position Wells saw his vision for a strong senior season beginning to blur.

“It was tough the day that the coaches told me I wasn’t starting the next game at quarterback,” Wells said. “That’s a tough situation.”

Wells wasn’t willing to let that tough situation change the way he wanted to remember his senior season.

The next day Wells headed back to the City High practice field with a new vision for his final season at City High.

“I just kind reflected on it and came back ready to work and help the team any way that I could,” Wells said. “They threw me in on defense and I knew I had to help the team the best I could there.”

Wells saw himself throwing touchdown passes this season not defending them but that’s the role he finds himself in entering Friday’s annual Battle for the Boot.

The 6-foot-2, 194-pound Wells has transitioned from quarterback to defensive back and will make his final start on Friday against Class 4A seventh-ranked West High (7-1) at 7:15 p.m. at Trojan Field.

“I just wanted to come back and bring that same leadership and energy on defense that I was trying to bring to the offense,” Wells said. “It’s been fun.”

Wells passed for 41 yards in the first three games before City High made the transition to sophomore Raph Hamilton under center.

Teammates knew the move was tough for Wells who worked all offseason for a shot at the quarterback job but none were surprised he made the transition without so much as a single negative word.

“He’d been practicing quarterback all summer, just the work ethic that he puts into everything I’m not surprised that he has stepped up as a defensive player,” City High senior captain Max DePrenger said. “Once Sabers told him he wasn’t going to start at quarterback he could have gotten down in the dumps but he didn’t. He came back to work and has been a leader for us.”

His first game not starting at quarterback Wells made a career-high 3.5 tackles in a 23-22 win over Dubuque Hempstead.

A week later he upped that total to 5.5 stops in a loss at Muscatine.

The defensive success has come as no surprise to veteran City High coach Dan Sabers who raved about Wells’ attitude and leadership.

“I know he was disappointed but I told him ‘you are doing yourself a heck of a lot of good down the road by the way that you handle this,’” Sabers said. “He’s jumped in and played some defense, he’s been a great leader he never once hung his head down.”

Wells spent the offseason working on getting his body ready to play at the varsity level.

He spent time in the weight room preparing, he thought, for the rigors that come with carrying the ball on offense.

The added strength has been even more important than Wells could have imagined with his move to defense.

“Throughout the years I hadn’t played much defense at all,” Wells said. “This is the first year that I feel like I am physically strong enough to play on defense. That was the biggest thing during the offseason was just getting stronger. That has really paid off for me.”

City High has lost four straight heading into Friday’s season finale. A stretch that includes a 24-21 overtime loss to Davenport North, a loss to Muscatine in which the Little Hawks led at halftime and a 49-14 loss to Linn-Mar last week that was a seven-point game in the fourth quarter.

A win over their cross-town rival on Friday would go a long way in giving Wells and his teammates an ending they all envisioned.

“There are definitely some games that we feel like we have let out there this year so if we could get this one that would help wipe away some of those bad memories for sure,” Wells said.

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