116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Bulletin: Some in our midst think Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras isn’t Spencer Perfect.
In the meantime, Iowa has won nine straight games with Petras starting. He hasn’t thrown an interception in his last five outings. His teammates keep telling us he’s a great leader. Do they know more than us? It seems a reasonable thing to assume.
Petras came from what basically is another world in northern California to be part of this Iowa thing. He regards it as his world, not a place he’s merely passing through.
“Especially in the Midwest, the culture’s different than California,” Petras said Tuesday. “But I think the common thing about the guys on this team is we have a lot of good people, a lot of really good teammates that love coming to work every day.
“No matter where you’re from or how you grew up, when you have that common goal and just the common quality of character, it makes it easier to fit in and to gel.”
Petras is from San Rafael, 10 minutes from the Golden Gate Ferry terminal in Larkspur, and a 35-minute beautiful ride to San Francisco.
Unlike Iowa, football isn’t the only game in town in the Bay Area on autumn Friday nights and Saturday afternoons. Yet, Petras played for a prep powerhouse at Marin Catholic High School. Jared Goff, now the Detroit Lions’ starting QB, preceded Petras at Marin Catholic.
Here are Petras’ senior-season stats at the school, which went 12-1 that 2017 season: Fifty touchdown passes, 4,157 passing yards, two interceptions. Wow.
He broke Goff’s single-game school yardage record, then broke his own mark three times. The last was 502 yards in a 59-56 section-championship victory.
Petras was named the San Francisco Chronicle’s Metro Player of the Year, and that covers a considerable amount of population.
He has roomed with Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum, wide receiver Nico Ragaini, punter Ryan Gersonde and cornerback Riley Moss. They’ve gone to each other’s hometowns in offseasons. Petras took the roomies to his high school, had them meet his coach there, Mazi Moayed.
Last week, Moss said that was “really cool,” but insisted his Ankeny Centennial team would have beaten Marin Catholic.
“They just don’t hit in California like we hit here,” said Moss.
When asked to respond Tuesday, Petras took out a verbal hammer.
“So my senior year, our whole offensive skill (position group) played Division I football,” he said, “all four receivers and the running back and the quarterback. We had a bunch of guys on the line (go to D-I teams). One of USC’s starting defensive tackles was on our high school team my senior year.
“Maybe (Moss’s team) would be more physical, but I doubt it. The big mismatch would be maybe Riley could cover one of our guys, but the rest of Ankeny Centennial in 2017 could not hang with Marin Catholic.”
Be true to your school.
Tuesday, Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said, “I was starting to wonder if we were going to like a quarterback (for the 2018 recruiting class). We were just having a hard time getting traction on, it seemed like, anybody.”
Iowa offered a scholarship to Matthew Baldwin of Austin, Texas, but he chose Ohio State.
“OK, we’re back to nobody. And then we ended up on Spencer and a quarterback out in Salt Lake City, who turned out to be pretty good.”
That was Zach Wilson, who passed for 33 touchdowns with just three interceptions last year at BYU as a third-year junior, and was taken by the New York Jets with the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“What it boiled down to,” Ferentz said, “is who could get here first.
“Ken (Iowa quarterbacks coach Ken O’Keefe) had been out there and investigated him, felt great about everything, talked to the high school coach and all that stuff. And once he got here, I think we all felt really good about him.
“He's really a top-notch guy. He really likes football. It's in his blood. It's important to him, and he's really conscientious, great work ethic. And we thought he was a pretty good player on film.”
Who knows what Wilson would have done at Iowa? Who knows what Petras will do here before he’s done? But he’s on a nine-game winning streak, and that can seem as beautiful as the Golden Gate Bridge.
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