Return trip for unfinished business

The UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

Since about 7:15p on November 13th, 2009, underclassmen players of the West Des Moines Dowling Catholic football vowed to be on the same UNI-Dome turf a year later and take that final step to the championship game and win the title.

Gentlemen, your opportunity is here. What will you do with it?

There’s a team sharing the same route to the UNI-Dome from the CIML Central, the Ankeny Hawks.

The same Hawk team in name the Maroons clobbered back on October 1st, 42-0. That game featured a great performance by the Tom Wilson coached bunch.

The Maroons forced 4 turnovers, 2 on special teams and could do no wrong, while the Hawks struggled to move the football gaining only 76 yards rushing and 73 yards passing.

But things are different this time.

Ankeny helmetAnkeny had a chance to heal key players, fix what went wrong and beating a team for the second time in a season is always tough.

Sure, some of that is coach speak, but much of it true.

Coach Jerry Pezzetti told me earlier this week they know what mistakes they made the first time around. They know they have some holes to fix and they’ve addressed them. There’s also some new players in new positions, but in reality, Ankeny football has gone back to being Ankeny football, which means they are running it the ‘ole Ankeny way, misdirection.

Pezzetti is in his 49th year of coaching with a career record of 349-139-1. He’s won 289 games at Ankeny. Tom Wilson is in his 19th year as a head coach with the last 6 at Dowling Catholic. His career record is 149-51 and 58-11 wearing the Maroon and White.

Justin Hayworth/The Register Ankeny's Joel Lanning tries to elude Urbandale's Jordan Augustine in the first quarter during their Class 4A playoff game at Frerichs Filed in Urbandale Friday night. (Justin Hayworth/The Des Moines Register

Ankeny running back Rob Myers suffered an injury during the season and the post-season, but he’s back in the starting line up both on offense and defense. He’ll be the first one through with the speedy Carter Brandt right behind, and if those two don’t get the ball, look for QB Joel Lanning to keep the ball. Lanning has been the team’s leading rusher (Johnston 10-68 and Ottumwa 11-53) but had 19 carries against Urbandale with Carter Brandt getting 96 yards on 13 carries.

Also look for more carries by Joe Bredice, another senior pushed into double duty to get the job done.

Justin Hayworth/The Register Ankeny's Carter Brandt slips by Urbandale's Gabriel Moreno for a touchdown during their Class 4A playoff game at Frerichs Filed in Urbandale Friday night. (Justin Hayworth/The Des Moines Register)

One thing that is consistent in the Ankeny offensive scheme since the Dowling drubbing is even number of carries among players. Against Johnston, Lanning had 10 carries, Brandt, Trevor Egli and Jordan Studer all carrying the ball 8 times. Rob Myers was right there with 6 touches.

Coming into the Week 6 matchup, Ankeny ran the ball an average of 41 plays and passed it 12 times a game. Since Dowling, the average dropped to 36 carries and 9.4 passes per contest. Not a big change in offense, just fewer offensive plays.

The Hawks are 4-1 in the game following the Dowling Catholic matchup with a win over Johnston and close loss to Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln before beating Ottumwa (5-4), Waukee (4-6) and Urbandale (5-6) in the road to the Dome. Waukee and Urbandale were 3-6 going into the playoffs.

The Maroons beat Marshalltown (3-6), 7-3 WDM Valley and 9-2 Ames to get back to the campus of the University of Northern Iowa’s sports complex.

If the Hawks win, they’re back in the title game for the first time since being runner-up in 2007. A Dowling win puts the Maroons back in the title game for the first time since 2001 when they completed back to back championships.

Coach Pezzetti told his players this week they have a shot and need to commit fewer errors if they want to win this game. He says his team has a different attitude since that last matchup and know how quickly the game can change.

This time, they hope they are on the side the game that puts them in control.

Our pregame show on AM1150 begins at 6p Friday night. There is no internet streaming of the game, per IAHSAA rules. We will do our best to update drives, scoring and stats on our Twitter feed at Kickoff is set for 730, but we are following the City High (Iowa City) and Bettendorf playoff game. The winners play next Friday in Cedar Falls.

A couple of storylines to follow Friday night: QB Connor Bravard is 98 yards short of 1,000 rushing yards for the season. Dalton Parrott is 55 yards short of 1,000 for the 2010 campaign.

Also, Bravard’s cousin is Ankeny’s big tackle, Cameron Griffith.

For Dave Marcoulier, Brian Morries, Romelle Slaughter and Tim Burrow, I’m Paul Yeager, thanks for reading and listening.


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