CEDAR RAPIDS – His dad might not be entirely thrilled about it, but at least Reggie Schulte was being honest. That’s an admirable quality.
The Cedar Rapids Xavier senior was asked the other day how upset he was that Cedar Rapids Prairie quarterback counterpart Jace Hanna, and not him, was named the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division football athlete of the year.
That’s no offense whatsoever to Hanna, who had a great season leading the Hawks to the Class 4A playoff quarterfinals. He played most of the way with a bum ankle, too.
But Schulte’s numbers were borderline insane, as Xavier went unbeaten until losing to Ankeny in the 4A championship game.
“The system decided it the way it was decided,” Xavier Coach Duane Schulte said diplomatically. “I can’t say enough good things about Jace Hanna.”
“It irked me a little. I’m not going to lie,” Reggie Schulte counter. “But Jace is a great player, obviously. I think he’d say the same thing, that a lot of that stuff has to do with your team. He had great teammates around him, just like me. It did make me a little mad because I thought that maybe I should have been (POY), but I couldn’t have even been near that position without my teammates. They made great plays for me all year.”
It may be some consolation that The Gazette and KCRG has named him the 2012 area offensive player of the year. Both he and Hanna shared all-area quarterback honors.
“Now that the season’s over, I can finally say how super proud of him I am,” said Duane Schulte, who is recovering well from recent hip replacement surgery. “It is great to see all of his hard work pay off. I remember when he was in, like, fifth grade and we’d say our prayers at night, he always wanted me to draw up a play for him. The next night he’d ask me to draw up another one, and I’d say ‘No, not until you tell me about the play from the night before.’
“He just loves the game of football, loves the Xs and Os.”
That’s not to say old dad didn’t have to set him straight from time to time. Even though Reggie completed 71 percent of his passes, led Class 4A in passer rating most of the season and threw 37 touchdowns to eight interceptions, Coach Schulte would never let him get cocky.
“There were some moments this fall where I had to give him some humble pie,” Duane Schulte said. “He ate what he had to.”
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Coach John Tursi,” Reggie said. “My dad would give me credit sometimes, but usually he was like the bad cop, as you could say. Coach Tursi was always my good cop. When I would do something stupid, my dad would just tear me to pieces, and I’d feel like dirt. Coach Tursi would be there to say ‘Hey, you’re all right.’ He’d be there to build me back up. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that. It gave me so much confidence.”
That’s not to say playing for his father was a bad deal. Quite the opposite.
“It was great. Just awesome,” Reggie said. “When we were game planning, we’d talk at home about ‘Oh, did you see this play? We could run that.’ Stuff like that, literally at the dinner table.”
Father and son have bonded over the vagaries of the game they love.
“People have always kind of asked me and my dad what our playbook is,” Reggie said. “We don’t really have a physical playbook. We just kind of in his mind and my mind (there are) all these plays we’ve kind of thrown together. I’ve always watched NFL shows and other shows to see schematic stuff. Like over the summer when Jon Gruden had all those quarterbacks in. The Gruden Camp on ESPN. Me and my dad loved watching that, just seeing ‘Oh, we could run this play.’ Just seeing all the ideas they had and stuff. It was like Christmas for us, watching all that kind of stuff.”
There are two more Schulte quarterbacks coming up in eighth-grader Bryce and sixth-grader Quinn. Reggie wants to continue playing football, too, though he has no idea what level in college that will be.
The Schultes have sent tapes to several FCS and Division II schools, including Northern Iowa. Reggie doesn’t have elite size, arm strength or athletic ability, but his intangibles are off the charts.
“Quickness, arm strength, release and accuracy are one thing, but what sets him apart is his passion for the game,” Duane Schulte said. “He loves the game, he’s a student of the game.”
Kind of sounds like a coach in the making, right?
“I don’t know,” Reggie said. “Some people give me grief that as soon as my dad retires, I’m the next guy to coach here. That’s obviously way too far down the line. But I’ve definitely thought about coaching. I love being around it. I guess we’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.”