Go back to August 20, 2010. That’s the night Dowling Catholic and West Des Moines Valley opened up the 2010 season.
Some coaches, players, fans, media were saying playing this epic battle this early in the season isn’t a good idea.
Those who thought it was too early are getting their wish. This time it will be November 1 for the rematch in the second round of the Iowa High School Athletic Association football playoffs. Valley beat Lincoln and Dowling beat Marshalltown 56-14 in the their opening round games.
Dowling dominated the first contest as many questions were looming as the season opened up. How will Connor Bravard do under center? How will the new defense gel? How will Valley respond following a “disappointing” by Valley standards season?
Bravard had a great start to the season with 101 yards rushing and 92 yards passing and he didn’t play much in the 2nd half as the Maroon defense also came to play allowing a single score in the game. Many of Bravard’s yards came on a hail mary play before the half when Amara Darboh grabbed the ball out of thin air. Also special teams were special that night in the 34-7 win for Dowling.
Coach Gary Swenson‘s Tigers used two quarterbacks that night, one the starter (and current starter) Jeff Pullen and backup Connor Blythe. Pullen has been the primary QB the last few weeks. Pullen is 54 of 88 passing for 517 yards, 1 TD and 4 INTs. He’s rushed it 52 times for 18 yards and 2 TDs.
The Tigers come in 7-3 with losses to Dowling (34-7), Ames (24-3) and Fort Dodge (15-12). All three of those teams made the playoffs and only the Dodgers have been eliminated.
Valley put together wins against Ottumwa (playoff qualifier), Indianola (playoff qualifier), Marshalltown (playoff qualifier), SC West, Mason City and Waukee (playoff qualifier). The Maroons also had 8 of 9 opponents make the post season.
The Tigers have outscored their opponents 276-94 or 27.6 to 9.4 points per game. The Maroons have put up 447 points and allowed 60 points per contest.
Des Moines Lincoln was the first round opponent of the Tigers and this one was close the entire way with Valley running out the clock to win 27-21. Running back Martin Looney is now the clear workhorse of this team with 31 carries for 249 and 3 touchdowns again Lincoln to up his season total to 178 carries for 1307 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. As a team, the Tigers have gained 2310 yards on 405 carries for 28 TDs. The passing game is less than half that with 158 passes with 81 completions for 917 yards, 5 TDs and 5 INTs.
It is hard to beat a team twice in the same season. But you know the Maroons want to prove they can do it again.
Our broadcast pregame begins at 6p on AM 1150 KWKY or KWKY.com from Williams Stadium. That last fact has been a big talking point about this game as many outside of Dowling Catholic questioned the location. John Naughton of the Des Moines Register blogged this earlier in the week. There’s a good point about not playing Valley at Valley Stadium and being the ‘home’ team, to only have to sit on the visitors side. Drake Stadium is booked. Other options were not options, so this game will be at East High’s stadium. It is good enough for a university team (Grand View). Plus, East has been very accommodating. The press box is indoors and there’s plenty of seating. Kickoff is at 7p.
Tune us in on the drive in and drive home to hear color commentator Dave Marcoulier, sideline reporter Brian Morris and myself get you ready for kickoff and to have post game interviews and analysis. Romelle Slaughter will be active on Twitter.com/KWKYSports and chasing scores down for the broadcast.
The winner of this game will play the winner of Sioux City East and Ames. If Ames wins, the game will be at Williams Stadium. If SC East wins, get the maps out for a road trip to Sioux City on Friday night.
My name is Paul Yeager, see you at 6 on the radio.