Prep Football

Cedar Rapids Xavier's Quinn Schulte powered by competitive edge

Senior QB takes 25-0 mark as a starter as Saints try for second straight football title

Cedar Rapids Xavier's Quinn Schulte (5) motions to their fans after a 5-yard touchdown run during the fourth quarter of their high school football state semifinal game at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Xavier's Quinn Schulte (5) motions to their fans after a 5-yard touchdown run during the fourth quarter of their high school football state semifinal game at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Quinn Schulte was the typical younger brother.

He admired his older siblings from an early age, wanting to join them for the regular football games or basketball battles. Not only did Schulte try to hold his own against older brothers, Reggie and Bryce, but he didn’t back down from their friends, despite a considerable size and age disadvantage.

“He’d always want to tag along and when we’d play in the backyard, he’d always be the first one ready to go,” said Reggie, the oldest of Cedar Rapids Xavier Coach Duane Schulte’s four children. “He always loved competing.

“There were stages where we’d play in sixth grade and he’d be in Kindergarten, but whenever he’d get knocked down, he’d get right back up.”

The pickup games spawned a toughness and competitive nature that has played a key part of the Saints’ back-to-back trips to the Class 3A state football final Thursday at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. Defending state champion and top-ranked Xavier (12-0) faces No. 8 Western Dubuque (10-2) in a 3A District 4 rematch, beginning at 7 p.m.

“It’s amazing,” Quinn said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to do something really special as a team, for this program and this school.”

The Saints expect a much different game than the 35-0 victory in rainy and muddy conditions on Oct. 5. The Bobcats have been exceptional, averaging more than 42 points a game in the postseason.

“They’re on a roll,” Duane said. “They are a well-coached team and have good athletes. It’s going to be a huge challenge for us.”

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The Saints are 25-0 with Quinn Schulte as the starting quarterback, making consecutive finals appearances for the first time since 4A runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2013. Duane Schulte recalled a young Quinn trying to guard future all-stater Corbin Woods.

Those moments against his older brothers and their buddies helped hone an internal edge, extending to the family’s occasional game of Apples to Apples.

“He’s got a quiet fierceness about him,” Duane said. “He’s not very demonstrative. Sometimes you hardly know what he’s thinking. He doesn’t have a whole lot of expression, but deep down to the core he hates to lose and he’s been that way his whole life.”

╗áBelief: Western Dubuque has it as it tries to take down mighty Xavier

Entering the semifinal against Lewis Central, discussion was dominated by talk of the Saints formidable defense trying to stop Lewis Central’s quarterback and Texas Christian recruit Max Duggan. Schulte seemed to be overshadowed by his opposing signal caller.

Schulte had 274 yards and three TDs, while Duggan had 219 and two. Schulte was 8 of 10 passing for 108 yards and rushed for 152 yards with each score on the ground.

“At the end of the day, we’re just trying to go out and do our job,” Quinn said. “That is to try to come home with a win. You try not to get caught up with everyone in the media says about certain guys, even though we respect them and know teams have good players and talents that can hurt you.”

Xavier has had a Schulte at quarterback each of the last eight seasons. Reggie led the Saints to the 2012 final, using a cerebral approach and accurate arm, before moving on to Northern Iowa. Bryce, now at Iowa, guided teams to the semifinals in 2016 and 2014, making good decisions and possessing a strong arm.

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“We’re all three different players,” Reggie said. “I’d say, and I think Bryce would admit it too, but he (Quinn) has the speed on us. He definitely has that element. We all had our own characteristics but we all tried to use them to the best of our ability.

“Obviously, he got a lot better throwing this year, too, making good decisions.”

Quinn’s athleticism produced a dual threat under center the last two seasons, catching 52 passes for 546 yards from Bryce as a sophomore receiver. He has amassed 2,524 total yards passing, rushing and receiving with 44 touchdowns this year. His 1,640 yards and 23 TDs passing are up from a year ago.

“I think his passing has gotten better,” Duane said. “Part of that is because he’s gotten more reps. He played receiver as a sophomore.

“There was a year he didn’t play quarterback. It took him a little while to get back in rhythm.”

His career numbers are impressive. Quinn has thrown for 2,860 yards, adding 1,903 on the ground and 582 as a receiver. He has thrown 37 TDs to just four interceptions, scoring 276 points on 41 rushing and five receiving scores.

“It’s just how our offense has evolved over the years,” Quinn said. “We’ve just taken what the defense has given us. See where we can put the ball to have success.”

He owns the Saints’ regular-season and overall TD records, tallying 38 before the postseason. He tied Reggie for the school mark of six TDs in a game. The Saints also broke a team record with 394 points in the regular season.

“Those are all team records,” Quinn said. “None of those records are possible without a great (offensive) line, good receivers and good backs and good defense that can help you.”

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Quinn is also a two-way player. He has 22.5 tackles with three interceptions and a fumble recovery. As a defender, he has picked off more passes than he has allowed. He has nine career interceptions.

“He likes to hit people, too,” Duane said. “He has enough skills to have interceptions and break up passes and stuff like that.”

Not only will theátitle game bring an end to Quinn’s prep career, but it also brings an end to the head coach/player relation between the Schultes. It will be a bittersweet moment, but the focus is on Western Dubuque. Reflection will have to wait until after the final whistle.

“It’s been a blessing over the years to play under him,” Quinn said. “Ever since we were kids, we’ve always looked up to this coaching staff and they’ve done a great job to get us to this point. We’re going to go out and do our job on Thursday.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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