COLUMBIA — Patience has finally paid off for Bo Bell.
After four years at two different high schools, the Rock Bridge senior has reached his goal: Bell can now say he is the starting quarterback.
Hickman (6-4 last season) vs. Rock Bridge (4-6 last season)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Memorial Stadium
“It’s a pretty big deal,” Bell said. “It’s definitely been worked for over these past three years, so I’m pretty excited.”
Bell spent his entire high school career as a backup quarterback, patiently waiting for his opportunity to start.
“He started some games last year (because of team injuries) and did really well,” Rock Bridge coach A.J. Ofodile said. “He was our backup for the last couple of years, so he is very experienced. He’s a kid that easily could have been the starter for us last year.”
And he easily could have been the starter at a different high school. The 5-foot-9 quarterback moved from St. Louis to Columbia two years ago.
“I moved when I was a sophomore, and I was supposed to have a (starting) job at another high school my junior year,” Bell said. “So moving was kind of like getting pushed back a year.”
Mark Pickerel was already established as the Bruins' quarterback last season, leaving Bell to once again sit on the sidelines and wait for his turn.
“Just having the patience to accept the situation and not being negative said a lot about his character,” Ofodile said. “The kid worked hard and never gave up.”
Bell admits that waiting a year to start at quarterback wasn’t exactly part of his plan, but he understands that he would not be the football player he is today if it weren’t for being on the sidelines for the past three seasons.
“Every year, having some guy in front of me and just standing on the sidelines makes you want to constantly try and push yourself to get to that next level,” Bell said. “I knew it wasn’t my time yet, so I just tried to learn as much as I could during those years.”
After three years of waiting, it is finally Bell’s time. He leads his team into the Providence Bowl against Hickman on Friday night at Memorial Stadium and won’t be taking it for granted. And even though being a starter is something Bell had to work for, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You’ve just got to be patient. Sometimes waiting is what you have to do.”