Epic? Close. Season over? Not yet.

Justin Hayworth/The Register Dowling's Amara Darboh celebrates what proved to be the game winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter during their Class 4A State Football semifinal game against Ankeny at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls Friday night. Dowling came from behind to win 24-21. (Justin Hayworth/The Des Moines Register)

Sometimes, you have just let kids be kids and let them play.
If West Des Moines Dowling Catholic coach Tim Wilson knew that his big play receiver didn’t know the correct formation, he may have burned a time out late in the 4th quarter to make sure everyone was on the same page.

The Maroons were driving to the north end zone Friday night in the Class 4A semi-final against Ankeny. Amarah Darboh lined up on the right side of the formation. QB Connor Bravard saw him out there as the only receiver. Problem is, the Ankeny defense didn’t see Darboh. Bravard hurried to the line to snap the football, but by the time the defensive back got there, he did recover on the ‘out’, but on the ‘up’ route, Darboh dove for the pass and scored the go-ahead and winning touchdown for the Maroons.

KWKY analyst Dave Marcoulier saw that no one was on Darboh and that’s the only place we were looking during that call. We thought that was the way it was drawn up until Darboh spilled the beans to our sideline reporter Brian Morris in the postgame interview.

The Maroons rolled Ankeny 42-0 back on October 1st, but you knew that wouldn’t happen again. Not with Jerry Pezzetti still coaching. Ankeny had a score to settle with the Maroons.

Early on, neither team was scoring, including DCHS. The Maroons marched the opening kickoff down the field, but would have the 15-play drive stall out on a missed 28 yard field goal by Mac Chapman.

The Dowling defense forced a three and out with the Hawks only moving forward 2 yards on three plays. Then another sustained drive would end on 4th and 8 pass to give the Hawks the ball back on their own 28.

Justin Hayworth/The Register Ankeny's Austin Fischer celebrates a 72-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter that gave them a 7-0 lead over Dowling during the Class 4A State Football semifinals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls Friday night. (Justin Hayworth/The Des Moines Register)

The Hawks started the drive with a penalty and were in the hole with 3rd and 10 when Joel Lanning found Austin Fischer for the pass and Fischer did the rest sprinting 72 yards for the first points of the game, 7-0 Ankeny to end the 1st Quarter.

The Maroons would punt after 7 plays and all of sudden Maroon fans were wondering if they were re-living the semi-final against Marshalltown a year earlier.

Then the Hawks mounted a 80 yard drive which included a 3rd and 4th down conversion and two big runs by Carter Brandt, capped by Joel Lanning sneaking into the house to put Ankeny up 14-0 with 2:43 left in the 2nd Quarter.

Dowling faithful checked again to if it was 2009.

It is 2010.

Justin Hayworth/The Register Dowling's Connor Bravard is hit by Ankeny's Drew Carlson in the first quarter during the Class 4A State Football semifinals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls Friday night. (Justin Hayworth/The Des Moines Register)Back came the Maroons. Dalton Parrott set the tone for the drive with a 23 yard carry. Connor Bravard also played lights out in this game, he really took command of this team. It looked like Parrott scored a 20 yard TD run, but he slowed up a step at the one and got popped by Matt Andriano, jarring the ball loose and Parrott to the UNI-Dome turf for about 4 minutes.

Connor Bravard would go up the middle on 4th and goal to get the Maroons on the board before half to cut the lead to 14-7.

Mac Chapman would shake the first missed FG with a 42 yarder to pull his team within 4.

Ankeny would miss a FG from 44 yards and the Maroons would take advantage with a 1 yd TD QB sneak by Connor Bravard. Dowling took their first lead of the game at 10:52 in the 4th Quarter. Maroons led 17-14 after the 10 plays, 80 yard drive.

Ankeny wasn’t done as a great play call on a reverse to Greg Raney and the Hawks were back in the lead with 6:35 left.

Big runs by Dalton Parrott got the Maroons to the 14 when Darboh was left uncovered and made another fantastic catch. Parrott topped the 1,000 yard rushing mark with a 17 carry, 128 yard night. Bravard also topped 1,000 yards rushing with his 136 yard game on 23 carries.

Justin Hayworth/The Register Dowling's Tyler Harmeyer, Tommy Miller and Caleb Thomson converge on Ankeny quarterback Joel Lanning in the second quarter during the Class 4A State Football semifinals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls Friday night. (Justin Hayworth/The Des Moines Register)

The defense picked off a Lanning pass and converted a 4th and 1 to seal the win, 24-21.

WHO-TV13 reporter Shawn Terrell said in his 10p report this was probably the 2nd best high school football game he’d seen following last year’s Marshalltown game. I’d say this was the second best this season with the win over Valley in overtime.

This game did have a strong intensity on both sides of the ball. There appeared to be a few extra hits and words, but it was two great teams in a heavyweight bout. Following the game the two teams shared locker room space. For Dowling, the players couldn’t celebrate too much in front of the team they just sent to the sidelines.

Little things like that are forgiven when you win. Maybe a few too many plays east and west and not north and south. Just ask Marty Tirrell and John McDermott as the Ankeny fans were calling Marty after the game to complain. Our broadcast spot was 6 seats away and we could clearly hear the Mouth of The Midwest sounding off.

Dowling will return to the title game for the first time since 2001 on Friday against City High of Iowa City. The Little Hawks downed the Bettendorf Bulldogs 21-7.

For a look at more interviews from Dowling, check out the No, It’s Iowa blog by Jesse Gavin. Also, check out Romelle Slaughter’s view on the season on his blog as well. A big thanks to Romelle for his hard work this season in keeping us on the air and sounding good.

Kick off Friday is at 705. We’ll have the game on AM1150 KWKY in Des Moines. I’m Paul Yeager, we’ll see you next time.

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