Derek Greiner inducted into IAHSAA Hall of Fame

Derek Greiner was recently inducted into the 2017 class Hallf of Fame for 2A football on November 17. His wife and children, along with coach Bob Howard accompanied Greiner on the field. Photo courtesy of Tucker Photo.

Derek Greiner has now made two memories in the same building, two of which he'll never forget. The first occurred 16 years ago, when Greiner helped lead his Savage Cobras to a state title, something they'd come ever so close to the three previous years. Just over a week ago, on Nov. 17, he was announced as one of six men to be inducted in this year's Hall of Fame class.

Greiner's time at SK began in 1998 under coach Bob Howard, who employed a spinner back single-wing style of offense. A backfield made up of lethal talent resulted in chaotic play at times, which was aimed at confusing the defense. Greiner was one of those coach Howard called upon to play the spinner-back position, who after spinning, either tucked the ball and ran or handed it off to a second back.

Despite showing some success on the offensive side of the ball, Greiner played even more of an impact on defense.

"I liked playing defense a lot more," Greiner said. "It just seemed to come more natural to me."

Though he wasn't the flashiest player on the field, and didn't rack up the most stats, Greiner still played a very important role in the success that the Cobras had in that four-year span. Even amongst all the wins that SK was able to accumulate, some of the best moments occurred off the field.

"This joined program made guys want to buy in and work together," Greiner said. "People you hadn't known until you were 10 or 12 years old, due to being in a separate town, then became best friends. We all looked forward to practice, lifting in the morning and being around each other in general."

As dominant as the Cobras were year in and year out, a state title seemed to elude them. In 1998, 1999 and 2000, the Cobras made it to the State semi-finals, only to fall excruciatingly short. With a program that suffered few losses, those in the postseason began to mount up.

Going into his Greiner's final year, the Savage Cobras were the top ranked 2A football team. If there was any year they would make it to the final, it was then. Week in and week out they dominated every opponent, continuing to exploit their unique single-wing spinner offense. The Savage Cobras were able to get over the hump and complete their title bid.

"I can remember celebrating in the locker room after that, it was awesome," Greiner said. "All the guys who played before us were there to celebrate with us. That was probably the best memory I have playing for SK."

Having had so much success in such a short span, Greiner and teammates were offered the opportunity to play at the next level. For many, that would be a dream come true to continue playing something they put so much work into. Greiner wasn't one of those people, who's mind was set on farming.

"To be honest, I never really set any personal goals for myself on the field. I just wanted to be the best teammate I could be, and the rest would fall into place," Greiner said. "Playing for SK was special for me, it was a perfect fit. I went out on a high note and anywhere else I could play would never have the same feeling as playing here for coach Howard."

Fast forward to the summer of 2017. At an alumni banquet for friends and family, it was announced that Greiner would be inducted into the 2017-18 Iowa High School Football Hall of Fame. The ceremony didn't take place until Nov. 17, when Greiner took to the field for the first time in 16 years. Escorting him was coach Howard, who Greiner requested be there with him for the moment.

"I was very surprised when I found out that I'd be inducted. I wanted to make sure coach Howard was there with me, because without him, none of this would've been possible," Greiner said. "I hope that anyone who played before or after me in the SK program, including all the coaches who came before mine and those after him, this was for them too. From cheerleaders to bus drivers, and the community in-between, they should feel a sense of accomplishment in this recognition. That's what went through my mind."