Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – There were some difficult moments for Jack Wallace as a freshman starter last season.
Watching back the film of the Trojan’s 2-7 season from 2021 wasn’t any easier for the young West High quarterback.
“It was hard to watch sometimes,” said Wallace who estimated he watched every game from last season 10 times. “I would see stuff on film and wish I would have seen it when I was playing.”
As the tough times piled up for Wallace during a two-win season last fall so did the experience for the talented young signal caller.
With a year of varsity football and an off season spent learning from mistakes under his belt Wallace is ready to help perennial power West High get back to its winning ways.
“I’m not thinking about last year too much,” Wallace said. “It’s a new year and new opportunity and we are trying to get back to where we should be.”
Last fall Wallace had to win a quarterback competition in fall camp to become a rare freshman starter at the Class 5A level.
Wallace started all eight games a year ago completing 43 percent of his passes for 829 yards and five touchdowns with seven interceptions.
The experienced he gained a year ago was invaluable.
“I learned a lot and there is really no substitute for that type of experience,” Wallace said. “The seniors really helped me out last year Boaz (Abramoff) and all those guys really helped me out with how to handle pressure and handle everything that comes with playing varsity quarterback.”
Wallace went to work as soon as the season ended.
He watched film every chance he had at home or during study hall.
The 6-foot-3 Wallace spent the winter in the weight room and the spring running track both of which have paid dividends.
“Physically I tried to get faster,” Wallace said. “I did track and I think that helped me a lot with my speed and mentally I worked on being a leader and trying to get the guys around me and put us in a position to win as many games as we can.”
Before fall camp even began West High head coach Garrett Hartwig could see the off-season work had turned Wallace into a different player.
“First and foremost he is about an inch taller and probably 20 pounds heavier,” Hartwig said. “You can see the size and you see it with his arm strength and you couple that with now his understanding of the offense.”
There is no quarterback competition this fall.
Wallace is the guy and that has the Trojans ahead of where they were at during fall camp a year ago.
Gone is the freshman competing for a job instead there is an experienced leader under center.
“Last year I was trying to earn a spot while I was trying to execute and this year I’m just more trying to execute and make the team better,” Wallace said. “I’m focused on helping us win as many games as possible.”
Jumping straight from junior high to the highest level of high school football provided a number of challenge for Wallace.
Perhaps the toughest obstacle for Wallace a year ago was adjusting to opposing defenses.
That is something Wallace hopes is an improved element of his game this fall.
“The scheme is definitely a big difference,” Wallace said. “In junior high defenses aren’t complex or anything. The players at the 5A level are a lot better so that and the scheme it was a big difference but I think I’m more prepared for that this year.”
West High lost three of its top four passes catchers from a year ago but the Trojans bring back a talented group of skill players around Wallace.
First among those weapons is senior receiver Christian Janis (6-4, 180) who sustained a season-ending injury in the season opener a year ago.
Senior Bryan Torres (6-2, 205) returns after catching 10 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown and sophomore Mason Woods is expected to be a major weapon at tight end.
“We have a lot of weapons outside with Christian (Janis), Bryan (Torres) and Mason (Woods),” Wallace said. “I feel like overall we are ready to make a big jump from where we were at.”