November 27, 2009

Derby completes his mission

All season long Iowa City High has been on a mission. After falling short of the state title game last year, they entered the season ranked #1 in Class 4A and as they celebrated a win in the UNI Dome last Friday night, they could say, mission accomplished. Leading the way was future Hawkeye and Little Hawk quarterback A.J. Derby.

Derby said that all season long opponents have been on the hunt to knock the Little Hawks off their perch. The final hurdle to a state title was reached last Friday evening when City High pulled away from Marshalltown for a 42-14 victory.

"We did have a target on our back all year starting the season ranked #1 in the state in 4A. You don't get through that very often, but we were able to get it done," Derby said.

The City High team is a tight knit bunch with a single purpose in mind and that made the victory even more satisfying for Derby.

"I couldn't have been around a better group of guys," he said. "It felt awesome to win with our group of guys. We really worked hard this year and it finally paid off."

In the title tilt, Derby was 10-20 for 119 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for another 46 yards and another scoring, gaining game MVP honors. For the season, Derby threw for more than 1,800 yards and 23 scores, setting the career touchdown passes mark at City High. More importantly for Derby, his record as the starting quarterback was 24-1 in two seasons.

While he was pretty good as a junior, Derby put in the work this past spring and summer and feels like he has really improved as a quarterback.

"I've gotten a lot better than I was last year at this time. I think every aspect of my game as gotten better this year. I'm looking to continue that every year in college," Derby said.

While he completed season on the field, Derby has also been following his future school, the University of Iowa, very closely this season. That is only natural since his father played for the Hawkeyes, his brother currently plays for Iowa, and he will follow them and stay in Iowa City.

Derby said he went to the home games and made several road trips to Iowa's away games. He even made it to the game on Saturday morning after winning the state title late on Friday night. His job last weekend was part fan, but also part recruiter with big named recruits like C.J. Fiederowicz and Seantrel Henderson in town.

"I think it went pretty well," Derby said. "I got to meet a few of the guys and spend time with them on their visit."

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