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Jasper County Tribune

Baxter’s Aker takes football talents to Wartburg

Baxter's Braydon Aker, center, takes the snap for Iowa Western Community College in the Graphic Edge Bowl at the UNI-Dome last season. He threw for 189 yards and a touchdown in the victory and will play for Wartburg College this fall.
Baxter's Braydon Aker, center, takes the snap for Iowa Western Community College in the Graphic Edge Bowl at the UNI-Dome last season. He threw for 189 yards and a touchdown in the victory and will play for Wartburg College this fall.

Braydon Aker set Class 8-man passing records during his senior season at Baxter High School.

And after spending two years at Iowa Western Community College, Aker will head northeast and extend his collegiate career at Wartburg College.

The same place his father Jason Aker played his collegiate career.

“Wartburg has a beautiful campus, some really cool people and a winning tradition under Coach (Rick) Willis,” Braydon Aker said. “After going up there on a couple visits I really had a good vibe with the offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Matt Wheeler.”

Aker said he chose Wartburg College over a few NAIA schools and a few other NCAA Division III programs. After making a few visits, his final two choices came down to Wartburg and the University of Dubuque.

“After reconnecting with the coaches up at Wartburg it just felt more like a place I could see myself,” Aker said. “After getting to talk to some of the guys up there it just felt like that was the place for me. My dad and uncle both attended Wartburg. It’s cool to go someplace my family went.”

Aker said Wartburg and head coach Rick Willis recruited him as a quarterback.

At Iowa Western, Aker started the final two games of his career and threw for 433 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. He appeared in three games last season.

He had 244 yards and a touchdown in a win over Highland and then tossed for 189 yards and a TD in a win over Hinds Community College in the Graphic Edge Bowl at the UNI-Dome.

Iowa Western head football coach Scott Strohmeier said Aker worked hard throughout his time on campus, was determined and never complained.

“When his time came to play, he took advantage of it,” Strohmeier said. “Braydon is a smart player, great teammate and someone who works extremely hard to be the best teammate he can be.

“Braydon worked everyday and always wanted to improve his game on the field and in the fill room. He did everything we asked him to do and waited for his chance.”

At Baxter, Aker passed for 2,615 yards, 52 TDs and four interceptions in the Bolts’ first 8-man season.

Aker also rushed for 647 yards and 16 touchdowns that season.

“They recruited me as a quarterback and I hope that doesn’t change,” Aker said.

Braydon’s father, Jason, who spent several years on Rob Luther’s football staff for CMB and Baxter, played on the Wartburg offensive line from 1988-1991. He also wrestled for the Knights.

“My Dad always told me it was my decision and never put any pressure on me to go to Wartburg,” Braydon Aker said.

“My parents just wanted me to feel that wherever I went was the right fit for me. But, once I let him know that they were my top school he was super excited about it.”

Willis is 175-44 in his 20 years as Wartburg’s head coach and the Knights have won 10 Iowa Conference championships during that time.

Since 2010, Wartburg has gone 90-22, including a pair of 12-1 seasons.  

The Knights lost their senior starting quarterback to graduation this past season but junior Jace Moore passed for 795 yards and nine TDs as the backup.

“I know that they’ve been a super successful program under Coach Willis and his staff,” said Braydon Aker, who plans to major in exercise science. “They always seem to have a winning record and are competing for the conference championship every year.”

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