Three wins won by a combined 121-23 over East, Urbandale and last week Sioux City North.
But as any coach will say, there’s still work to do.
Miller calls top ranked and undefeated Dowling Catholic a test for his Dodger squad. The test is more like a final exam as there are still a lot of questions and issues to address with his 4th ranked squad.
Coach Miller says they’ve committed too many penalties that weren’t aggressive ones, but “silly”, as he calls them. Three in the first quarter against North led to a dull performance by his team. They woke up in the second quarter to roll to a 43-14 win.
But this team is anything but dull on paper or in real life. The Pistol and spread offense they run is one that likes to run, 121 carries, 702 yards first, then pass. (for more pure numbers click here)
They are a fast team. Des Moines East coach Greg Schoon called them the fastest team they’ve seen in quite some time.
A lot of speed comes from Dodger WR Darreus Caston. The senior is tied for second as the team’s best rusher with 155 yards, and top receiver with 4 catches for 78 yards. He returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown earlier this season. Coach Miller calls the 5’8”, 160 pound senior his fastest on the team.
Caston was having a great 2009 campaign until he sprained an ankle last season against Marshalltown. On one play he went down, the next play Jontel Clayton went down with the same injury in almost the same place.
Coach Miller says both players are healed and at full-strength.
Clayton is the team’s rushing leader with 58 carries for 370 yards. He’s a player that will just as soon run you over as run around you. Miller says he’s a power back. He ran for 1600 yards last season.
The new man in the lineup is behind center. Levi Peters is a transfer player from Twin River Valley of Bode. Peters played quarterback for the Dodgers and also lines up at linebacker. Coach Miller says it is hard to get him off the field. Peters is a great athlete as he placed 2nd in the State Wrestling Tournament at 140 pounds in Class 1A. He’s an even better catcher. He also played 8-man football last year, so he’s been having to make adjustments on the offensive side of the ball. He did play some at QB last season, but this year is the full-time guy. 17 of 28 passing for 242 yards and 3 TD passes, plus 155 yards rushing and 4 TDs.
If the needed, Ft. Dodge does have a kicker with range in Ty Littzen who booted a 48 yard FG last week at Sioux City North.
A Miller says he’s inexperienced up front, but does have a solid RG in Ethan Bartlett who’s been all-conference the last two years. Bartlett also plays tackle on defense where he’s the team’s leading tackler with 25.
That defense will line up in a 3-5 and come from all angles, all day and all night. Coach Miller says they won’t change that approach for Dowling.
Samuel Peters, Levi Porter and Bartlett anchor the front three spots. The linebakcers are Levi Peters, who may be a better defensive player than offensive, Mark Wilson, Connor Morain, Will Kenny and Cole Jarrard.
Morain and Kenny both have 20 tackles with Wilson and Levi Peters right behind at 19.
Willie Williams and Darreus Caston play the cornerback spot with Free Safety Colin Hendricks back deep. Hendricks is the coach on the field. He’s got the brains to do it as he’s carrying a 4.0 GPA and scored a 32 on his ACTs.
The Dodger Defense has only allowed 14 points in 3 games, those coming last week against the second teamers against North. They have forced 7 turnovers this season, so that will be something they need to do this week to have a chance against Dowling, according to Coach Miller.
The Dodgers like to blitz. The try to confuse your offense. That has worked against inexperienced teams the last 3 weeks, but this is no rookie team. The Maroon offensive line is again a strength as Coach Jim Williams has again got the guys ready to play each week.
We go on the air at 6p from Valley Stadium as it is Homecoming for the Maroons. I’m sure Coach Tom Wilson will have some fun things to share about how much he loves this week full of distractions. For the record, it is homecoming for three CIML Central teams this week as Johnston and Ankeny are also getting the distraction out-of-the-way.
This is the last time the Maroons play a non-conference game. Next week will be a home game with Southeast Polk.
You can listen online to the broadcast at http://www.KWKY.com or get scoring updates through the game on Twitter.com/KWKYSports where my man Romelle Slaughter will be operating the feed.
Dave Marcoulier will have competition in the booth as Sean Moore will be our guest color analyst. No word if we’ll have a guest sideline reporter with Brian Morris.
My name is Paul Yeager, see you on the air on AM1150 KWKY Des Moines at 6 with the kickoff at 730 from Valley Stadium. This should be a great game of CIML football.