By Pat HartyYour Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – City High senior Nate Wieland would prefer to not think about last football season, and who could blame him?It was a horrible time for him, the game he cherishes taken away because of injuries.“It was probably the most frustrating time in my life just sitting out watching the game I love playing,” Wieland said. “It was just terrible having to watch them.“But I learned a lot of things throughout the process. And I think it made me better as a player.”Wieland was talking about his junior season in which he only appeared briefly in two games because of injuries to his shoulder and leg.Nate WielandHis loss was a huge blow to the Little Hawks with the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Wieland being the starting quarterback and a starting defensive back.It also hurt Wieland as a recruit because he lost almost his entire junior season.City High coach Dan Sabers was impressed with how Wieland dealt with the adversity last season. Wieland didn’t pout or feel sorry for himself, even though his injuries came at a terrible time with regard to recruiting because prospects use their junior film to promote themselves.“You lose your whole junior season, we all know how important that is for recruiting and all that type of stuff as well,” Sabers said. “I thought he handled it extremely well. He did some good things for us, and I think it’s really made him hungry for this year.”A testimony to Wieland’s talent is that he still received a scholarship offer from Northern Illinois and has since made a verbal commitment to the Mid-American Conference power despite hardly playing last season.“They came and took a look at him and the thing that they saw is hey, this kid is just a hell of an athlete,” Sabers said. “He’s a good kid. He’s responsive and all that.”The only bright side to Wieland being injured last season is that Sabers learned that he had another talented quarterback in the same class.Jared Taylor replaced Wieland at quarterback and the team rallied behind Taylor to make the Class 4A quarterfinals, finishing 8-4 overall. Taylor passed for over 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.“That’s what you’ve got to do in sports when that happens and there is no question Jared stepped up and was tremendous,” Sabers said. “It just built I think some resiliency and confidence in our other players, too, that you know, hey, one of our key guys is down, but we’re not going to quit on each other and we’re going to keep building and believing and executing.”Sabers said there is no question that Wieland and Taylor will be on the field at the same time this season. Wieland is capable of playing several positions, including receiver.“He could play about anywhere,” Sabers said of Wieland, who is a dual-threat quarterback.Wieland seems willing to play anywhere. He just wants to get back on the field.“Now we can put me at receiver, we can put him at tight end,” Wieland said of Taylor. “We can both play defense now. It’s just going to help us a lot.”Wieland isn’t about to change his aggressive playing style at quarterback where he often runs between the tackles with the power of a fullback.He only knows how to play football one way, and that’s with aggression and fearlessness.He doesn’t think about getting injured.“I completely zone it out,” Wieland said.