You got the sense Friday night that West Des Moines Dowling Catholic had something to prove Friday night in their quarterfinal football game with Ames High School.
This was the same team that escaped in overtime against arch-rival West Des Moines Valley just five days before on the same Williams Stadium field turf. This time there was little doubt who the better team was on Friday.
The Maroons picked off the second pass of the game and cashed it in for points 4 plays later and never looked back sprinting to a 48-10 win. Eric Lee made the big first play against and Valley and against Ames, he stepped in front of a Kyle Anderson pass to get the first turnover of the game.
The Maroons would be in the end zone just four plays later after the hero of Monday’s game, Dalton Parrott into the house. The 4 play, 55 yard drive was one 8 scoring drives for the boys in Maroon and White.
The defense came up big again on the next series forcing a punt after only 6 positive yards over 5 plays. Two of those plays were running, the first to Hansen Breitling, the other, a sack of QB Anderson. The Little Cyclones would only rush the ball 3 times in the first half. The third ‘rush’ was another sack of Anderson. KWKY Analyst Dave Marcoulier kept saying how rare that was in high school, let alone any level to not be running the football anymore than that. Ames would finish was 12 rushes for 21 yards, but 9 of those came in mop up duty in the continuous clock of the 4th quarter.
Not only was the rush defense working, but the pass defense came to play. Anderson was looking at all his receivers, but none could break free. 5 Ames receivers all caught multiple passes with Nathan Cruise, Adam Maher and Bo Brammer all catching 5 passes. But only Thomas McKiernan found the end zone for his team. Anderson would finish with 24-42 passing for 244 yards and 2 INTs. The Little Cyclones only had 21 rushing yards to push their total offense to 265 yards.
The saying goes a great defense is a great offense, and the Maroons used that theme Friday night using sustained drives to keep the Ames offense off the field. The second offensive series covered 51 yards in 9 plays (Connor Bravard 1 yd TD run), 7 plays, 75 yards (Bravard to Dalton Parrott 45 yard TD run) to end a 21-0 first quarter.
Then the Maroons used 13 plays to cover 68 yards capped by Dalton Parrott’s 2 yard run. But that was made possible by a 20 yard pass catch by Andrew Pick. Dowling would go to the locker room leading 28-10.
The big play machine came out in the 2nd half as it only took 4 plays to get back into the end zone as Parrott scampered 28 yards for the score. But one of the most exciting plays of the game was a great scramble by Bravard and the line holding blocks and then downfield blocks as Parrott caught the safety valve pass and then went 64 yards for the score. In reality, he ran about 84 yards as Bravard was almost back to his ten when he got rid of the ball. That fifth touchdown of Parrott’s got the continuous clock running and Bravard would end the scoring on a 5 yard run late in the 3rd quarter.
Bravard would finish 13 of 18 passing for 228 yards and take 13 carries for 94 yards and two scores. Parrott has 21 carries and 151 yards. Eric Lee caught 5 of those passes for 83 yards.
Take out a couple of runs for losses late in the 4th quarter and the Maroons would have finished with 500 yards total offense.
So, for the second straight year, the Maroons go marching to the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls with a 12-0 record and a date in the semi-final game. This time, it is Ankeny that awaits. The Hawks escaped the upstart Urbandale J-Hawks. Ankeny and Dowling met in week 6 (game 7) and it was not pretty for Ankeny as Dowling rolled to a 42-0 win. Turnovers were a big part of that game.
But things are different right now. The Hawks are healthy, they’ve abandoned much of the passing game and gone back to the great rushing attack they’re historically known for. Ankeny lost to Indianola, Dowling Catholic and Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln this season. It is their first trip to Cedar Falls in two seasons. They know the way, the lights, the heat, the intensity and what is at stake, date in the finals with either City High of Iowa City or Bettendorf. Either the Little Hawks or Bettendorf are also familiar with the UNI-Dome.
Friday’s 730p game will not stream on KWKY.com, but will only be heard on AM1150 in Des Moines. That is an association rule, not KWKY.