KIRKLAND – Ever since he can remember, Hiawatha senior Dakotah Quimby has spent his Friday nights at the football field at the southwest corner of Hiawatha High School.
Since 2009, Dakotah has been on the sideline as a member of the Hawks, transforming from a special teams player his freshman season into the Hawks’ top running back. He’s run for 105 yards and two touchdowns this season, and starts at linebacker, as well.
Before he even put on a Hawks uniform, Quimby was either in the stands watching one of his three older brothers play, or in the grass throwing a football around with other younger kids.
Quimby’s oldest brother, Robert, graduated from the school in 2000. Dakotah’s brother Shane graduated in 2002, while Dakotah and Jace Quimby played on the team for one season before Jace graduated in 2010.
These days, the Quimby brothers are spread out. Robert lives in Texas, while Shane is in Montana. Dakotah still speaks to the two, and they wish him good luck.
Jace Quimby still lives in town, and chats with his younger brother nearly every day.
“Definitely, I’ve got big shoes to fill. It’s always kind of a joking matter and stuff like that,” Dakotah Quimby said before Hiawatha’s Wednesday practice. “They support me a lot.”
In 2009, Dakotah Quimby was biding his time on the Hawks’ kickoff and return teams. Meanwhile, Jace was a Daily Chronicle first-team all-area selection playing tight end and linebacker.
For years, Robert, Shane and Jace Quimby had known nothing but losing for Hiawatha football. The lone season Jace and Dakotah were on the same team, things took a turn for the better in coach Sean Donnelly’s third season. The Hawks went 5-4, winning their final four games. Hiawatha was playoff-eligible, ready for its first postseason berth since 1987.
But it wasn’t enough. The Hawks didn’t have enough playoff points to qualify, and were heading home once again.
After that season, there still was a renewed optimism around the football team. However, Hiawatha fell to 2-7 in 2010 and didn’t win a single contest last year. Last Friday’s 14-13 win against Chicago Hope Academy was the Hawks’ first victory since they beat Luther North, 7-0, on Oct. 2, 2010.
Dakotah Quimby is one of seven Hiawatha seniors, the only class remaining from part of the school’s last winning season.
As the Hawks hope to right the ship, Donnelly said this year’s senior group feels like it has something to prove.
“They’re the last class we’ve got that was part of that. And I know a lot of them got some game experience that year just because of the games we we were in. And we were able to get them in, and I know they enjoyed that,” Donnelly said. “I know they looked up to that (senior) class a lot. I think they wanted to prove to some of the guys in that class that they could fix things here again, just like that senior class did.
“I think that’s a good motivator for them, that they admired those guys and looked up to them enough that they want to show them that they can get this thing back to where it needs to be.”