After playing varsity football at Monmouth-Roseville as a freshman, Bell was the quarterback on Bettendorf's sophomore team last year. In his first year as the Bulldogs' trigger man, Bell was the offensive MVP of Class 4A District 7.
He completed 93 of 141 passes (66 percent) for 1,347 yards and 17 touchdowns versus only two interceptions. The 5-foot-10 and 170-pounder rushed for 742 yards and 14 scores, and also averaged 34 yards on 26 punts.
"I knew it was going to be a little tougher than Monmouth," Bell said. "My sophomore season got me into the program, our style of play. Looking back, last year did a good job of preparing me for this year."
Bettendorf dropped the season opener to West Des Moines Valley, but followed with 10 consecutive wins. It didn't have a game closer than 35 points during district play, knocked off rival Pleasant Valley twice and outlasted state-ranked North Scott in the quarterfinals.
"Beating PV the first time was pretty big," Bell said. "It is a big rival, and I felt we got a lot of momentum going with our season after that win."
The season concluded with a 23-0 loss to Iowa City West in the state semifinals.
"It was a good season, an improvement from last year," Bell said. "I improved my game by at least two times. It was a good group to play with, and we got further than last year. We were able to get those seniors a Dome trip."
Playing through pain
In the second quarter of Bettendorf's playoff game against North Scott, Bell was sacked and suffered a Grade 1 sprain on his AC joint (left shoulder). He left the game and didn't return.
"Right when it happened, I was like, 'Oh, no. This is the worst time it could come,'" Bell said. "I believed in our team and we got the job done."
Bell did return the following week for the state semifinal game.
"I was in quite a bit of pain, but the adrenaline was running," he said.
Bell had at least six touchdown runs go for more than 30 yards and threw more than 130 passes before being picked off. No touchdown run was more impressive than one in the opening half against Davenport Central where he made multiple cutbacks in the open field.
"I don't know where that one came from," Bell said. "I was pretty hyped up about that one."
Bell has opted not to play basketball this winter. He wants to spend the time in the weight room.
"I just felt I had too much on the table right now and with the (shoulder) injury," he said. "I thought maybe I need to rest and take an offseason to get ready for track and baseball."
Bell has had conversations with Iowa and Iowa State. He also hasn't ruled out the possibility of playing baseball or running track in college, too.
He plans to attend several football camps this summer.
"This next baseball season is going to be pretty big, in terms of who looks at me," he said. "I would love to go Division I, but it depends if there are some Division II schools recruiting me for both. I'd love to do both."
If he plays Division I football, he'll likely have to make a position switch to receiver or the secondary with his size. If he goes Division II or III, quarterback is a possibility.
As far as playing for his father, Steve, at Augustana, that seems unlikely.
"If I don't get recruited very highly, I would maybe consider that," he said. "I'm not sure if I'd like that or not. I've told him if I go play for you, I don't want you to yell at me. I've been hearing enough of that for 17 years."
— Matt Coss