The Maroon Machine ist still a work in progress, but they upgraded their ride Friday night in a 44-7 victory of visiting Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson at Valley Stadium.
Last year, the Maroons rode like a Cadillac most of the season, many nights, cruising to victory. This year, the vehicle is different. Some parts of the car returning are the envy, even the target, of many. Defenses know where Amara Darboh is at all times. He scored 3 touchdowns in the second game of his senior season to bring his season total to four. But they weren’t big play catches from QB Dan Hartlieb, but running ones. Darboh is playing the flanker position in Coach Tom Wilson’s offense. (Here’s a link to a great story on Darboh by Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register)
Number 15’s first score was the game’s first. The offense looked impressive in the Maroon’s first drive moving 56 yards in two plays following Ben Goaley’s 39-yard run and Brandon Ogden’s 17-yard catch. 3 plays later, Darboh was in the end zone on a 2-yard run.
The defense turned in a stingy 1st quarter performance, forcing the Yellow Jackets 3 and out the first three series of the game. Quarterback Dominic Wilson looked to run the ball many times, but instead turned to the air, to look for positive yardage. But Wilson didn’t get much help in the field position game, starting drives on his own 16, 24 and 10 in this same three series stretch. The Maroons would only allow -6 yards in total offense in the first half.
Meanwhile, the Maroons couldn’t take advantage of the short fields after the first score, managing only a 34-yard field goal by Avery Mason with 3:25 remaining in the first quarter to increase the lead to 10-0. The much-improved Coach Mark Puev squad played good defense on Darboh and others, making one-on-one open field tackles in most cases, especially on Darboh.
Dowling Catholic opened the door on a T-J punt that the return man never seemed to have a handle on from the beginning. TJ took over on the Dowling 28. The drive got as close as the 8 when the snap from center went over Wilson’s head. The Maroons picked up the loose ball.
Then the engine started to purr.
Alex Heckman was slated to play more wide receiver and defense this season. Now he will now see more time at tailback following the first play of the season that injured Michael Palme. Heckman spelled Goaley for a play and he made the most of his opportunity. Alex took the ball 46 yards to the TJ 9. Two plays later, Darboh was in the end zone again for 17-0 lead.
Clemon would get his second turnover, picking off a Wilson pass and return it to the TJ 15. Then Jon Wisnieski would get the call on a pass from Hartlieb to make it 24-0.
Ben Goaley added a score from one yard out before Darboh caught a nice page as Dowling Catholic would practice the 2-minute drill before half to go into the locker room up 38-0. Coach Wilson told our Brian Morris at halftime he was pleased with the effort, but execution could have been better. Goaley ran the ball 14 times for 112 yards.
The second half brought a continuous clock and mostly the second, third and fourth teamers. The Maroons finished with 284 yards rushing and 425 yards of total offense. The Yellow Jackets had 74 total yards, 32 rushing, 59 yards passing.
Back up QB Anthony Denkinger (yes, nephew of that Denkinger Cardinal and Royals fans) through a nice pass to Matthew Haack from 7-yards out to make 44-7.
Thomas Jefferson would score late in the 4th quarter on a pass from Wilson to former QB Michael Wallace.
One interesting side story that developed late in the game was the debut of freshman QB Ryan Boyle for Dowling Catholic. This is noteworthy as freshman traditionally don’t play for DCHS in football. According to unofficial DC historian Mark Amadeo, he goes all the way back to the early 1960s when Tommy Formaro came in to a game. He would be the a 3-year starter after that.
Andrew Clemon and TJ Palme appeared in our KWKY post-game show saying Monday’s practice certainly helped set a tone for the team’s preparations this week. Palme added that a few guys had not realized the speed of the game is much different at the varsity level than in sophomore or JV games.
“We’re not settled yet in our 11 guys,” Coach Tom Wilson told Brian Morris in our post-game show meaning the second and third string guys who saw the field Friday night are still playing for a spot in the starting line-up.
The Maroons improve to 1-1 while the Yellow Jackets fall to 0-2. Dowling hosts DM East at East on Friday night. Our webcast on DowlingWebcasting.com begins at 6p. As always, join us on AM1150 KWKY or KWKY.com. Be sure to submit your question for the “Ask The Announcer” segment around 645p in our pre-game show. Just send an @Reply to our @KWKYSports Twitter feed and we’ll read it on the air.