Little Cyclones love the air, want redemption

Friday’s weather forecast is a cold one. A night with some wind, some cold and a warm bus ride to Cedar Falls and the UNI-Dome is on the line. Also for DCHS, the shot at a second-straight 12-win season.

Ames comes to East High’s Williams Stadium looking to advance out of the quarterfinals, unlike in 2008 when Ankeny stopped the Little Cyclones. Or last year when West Des Moines Dowling Catholic stopped  the Little Cyclones season in the sub-state game with a 31-27 win. Ames was the 16th seed and had a record of 3-6, Dowling was 9-0 and the top seed in western Iowa. These teams have a strong post season history with Dowling beating Ames in the 1998 semifinals 28-20 and in the 1995 semis, 35-34.

This year, the Maroons are again top seed who barely survived against Valley on Monday night, 23-20 in OT.

Ames Anderson
By Amy Vinchattle/The Tribune Ames' Kyle Anderson tries to run though a tackle by Sioux City East linebacker Brad Stapleton Monday in Ames.

Again this season the Maroons are perfect, this time carrying a 11-0 record, but the Cyclones are 9-2. Their QB  situation has been consistent all year with Kyle Anderson starting all year, not being a mid-season adjustment.

Just like season, the team clicked with Anderson under center or out of the shot-gun formation. Anderson is big at 6-2, 200 lbs and can throw the football wherever he wants to.  He’s 198 of 324 for 2275 yards passing for 15 touchdowns. He’s not afraid to tuck the ball and run either with 495 yards on 108 carries including a 49 yard touchdown run in the 1st quarter against Sioux City East on Monday night.

By Nirmalendu Majumdar/The Tribune Ames High returning starters, from left, Kyle Anderson, Nathan Cruise, John Elsenbast, Dane Jensen, Luke Swalla, Tony Rush and Darin Blum will lead the Little Cyclones this season, starting with Friday’s season opener at Des Moines North. The Polar Bears were winless in 2009, scoring the leas points (64) in Class 4A and allowing the most (399).

Anderson has a lot of targets to spread the ball to. He’s got 3 receivers with 30 catches in Adam Maher (48-613 6 TDs), Darin Blum (33-437 2 TDs) and Nathan Cruise (31-437 4 TDs). Plus another receiver with 22 catches for 210 yards in Bo Brammer and Corey Thompson the running back with 17 catches and 127 yards plus Thomas McKiernan with 14 grabs and 113 yards. So, this team can throw the football to a lot of targets. Anderson also plays basketball as he was the first guy off the bench during last year’s state title run that included some guy named Harrison Barnes.

Dowling has Amarah Darboh with 35 catches, Eric Lee 27 and Ben Boesen with 15 grabs for a little comparison.

Thompson gets the majority of the work in the backfield with 122 carries and 607 yards and 6 scores. Also look for Hansen Breitling to get significant carries Friday night as he’s run the ball 48 times for 261 yards and 4 TDs.

The offense alone concerns Maroon head coach Tom Wilson a lot, a team that can throw the ball all over the field.

The defense is a 4-2-5 for Ames. They put a little smaller look up front, or as Coach Bruce Vertanen says, a lot of safety bodies put playing outside their size that all love to play football.

The heart of the defense is Nate Cruise. The 6-1, 190 pound senior has 70 tackles and has returned two interceptions for touchdowns this season. Coach Vertanen calls Cruise one of the best he’s coached during his 20 years at Ames High. Cruise will take every snap on defense and about 2 of 3 on offense. He takes most snaps at linebacker but could play anywhere on the field if needed.

Ames Dixon
By Amy Vinchattle/The Tribune Ames defensive back Davis Dixon runs after making an interception against Sioux City East Monday in Ames.

Safety Davis Dixon had a huge return against SC East that sealed the win for the Little Cyclones.

Coach Vertanen says his team matches up well with Dowling and says the Maroons are a complete team.

The Little Cyclones two losses came against Ankeny (Week 2, 20-7) and Fort Dodge (Week 5, 30-28). They opened the playoffs by beating DM East 51-14 and then disposing of Sioux City East and the Alex Imming show 24-14.

Our pregame begins at 6p on AM 1150 KWKY. This will be the last game we can stream on this football season as IAHSAA rights come into play for semi-finals and finals at the UNI-Dome. Maybe you’ll hear Dave “Wahoo” Marcoulier make another famous call. We hope sideline reporter Brian Morris stays warm and Romelle Slaughter, fresh off his write-up on Des Moines’ Juice for his Twitter abilities, will be active on our feed of and chasing scores down for the broadcast.

The winner of this game will plays either upstart Urbandale or Ankeny. That game is at Frerichs Field. The semi-final game is in Cedar Falls next Friday night.

My name is Paul Yeager, see you at 6 on the radio.

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