SIOUX CITY, IOWA (KCAU)- Competitiveness, toughness, grit. Joe Dolincheck has them all. Traits that led him and Bellevue West to their first NSAA state title in 2016, with a shattered bone in his throwing hand.

He wouldn’t get many college offers, but Morningside saw something in Joe others didn’t. So they took a chance.

“When I was in high school I didn’t look much like a quarterback, I was looking more like an offensive lineman. Coach Hicks and Coach Ryan took a shot on me and that’s all I could’ve asked for,” Morningside senior quarterback Joe Dolincheck said.

“The intangibles just seemed to pop off the page, and the other things I felt I could work with him,” added Morningside head coach Steve Ryan.

Freshman year saw Dolincheck learning and listening under Trent Solsma, an all-time Mustang great who’d lead the program to its first NAIA national title in 2018. But Joe knew if he wanted to carry on the championship culture, he’d need to reshape his body. 6 months later, he was 55 pounds lighter and the starting QB for the defending champs his sophomore year.

“All my teammates and coaches I think they’ve seen it in me, and I’ve known from a young age I’ve been extremely competitive my whole life. It’s one of my strengths but also my weakness, sometimes a little too competitive, but when I’m doing something for the team I’m all in,” Dolincheck said.

Dolincheck went the distance from there, championing a perfect record into the national title game, Joe would throw six passing touchdowns against the #1 defense in the country. A back-to-back national champion, and the start of a special career.

“It put chills down my back right there just thinking about it,” Dolincheck emphasized.

His ability to get rid of the ball quick, to process things fast against really fast and athletic defenses to me was impressive right outta the gate,” Ryan said about Dolincheck.

Dolincheck was far from done. Setting the bar even higher the next two years, and praise followed. Winning GPAC Offensive Player of the Year multiple times, NAIA Player of the Year in 2021, with another national championship later that season. The Mustangs’ 3rd in 4 years. Dynasty.

“Every year Coach Ryan and I sat down and I set goals for myself and he had goals for me too. I just wanted to continue to develop my game. You should never be complacent with where you’re at and I wanted to try to hit those marks every year. I was not selling myself short,” Dolincheck highlighted.

“Every team needs a guy like that. He’s gonna get on you and he’s gonna be behind your back. At the end of the day that’s kind of like the whole team,” Morningside senior wide receiver Zach Norton added.

Though injuries would plague him late in his final season, the legacy of the 5th year senior was left in the record books. Breaking program and NAIA all-time marks in passing yards and passing touchdowns to name a few, while hurling 8 touchdowns in one half. Shattering another record held by Solsma and cementing his Mustang tenure as one of the greats in college football.

“It was something special and when I hit eight I didn’t know it was a program or school record or anything like that but when they announced it over the school board I was like man that’s a hefty goal to achieve,” Dolincheck said.

“When I caught that ball, I could hear him screaming ‘keep the ball, keep the ball, keep the ball, keep the ball’. Just shows all the hard work that he’s put in,” Norton added.

It won’t stop after graduation, as Joe plans to have football in his future. Hiring an agent and healing up, for any level of professional play to continue his dream.

“I love football, it’s my one and only passion and as of right now I’m not looking to put my cleats up just yet. I got a lot of football left in me,” Dolincheck exclaimed.

A career built on hard work and winning. Propelling the standard of Morningside football to new heights in the pocket.

“To be a quarterback here now you just gotta have confidence in yourself and Joe really just showed everybody out there,” Norton said.

“No matter the situation, fight. Fight for whatever you wanna get because nothing is going to be easy, nothing will be handed to you,” Dolincheck stated.

“Gotten to know him well, gotten very close to him and enjoyed getting to know him as a person. What an incredible career,” Ryan added.