Maroons try to Dodge more injuries on road trip

Every football season is different. Some years no player sustains a major injury. Other years, you can’t seem to keep the trainer off the field.

During the West Des Moines Dowling Catholic football team’s championship run in 2010, there were some sprains and a few broken bones, but few dramatic ends to the season for any one player. Backup quarterback Dan Hartlieb was one of the few not in uniform during the final against City High.

This year, the season wasn’t even a play old when Michael Palme was lost for the year with a knee injury. A few plays later Jacob Stacy would have almost the same thing happen to him. He’d come back in a couple of games, but his season likely ended last week in a 30-14 Maroon win against Urbandale.

This week, more of Tom Wilson‘s Maroons will likely be unavailable because of injury. Fort Dodge Coach Matt Miller told me earlier this week, he’d be okay if  Coach Wilson left some players back in West Des Moines.

Fort Dodge quarterback Sam Edwards throws a pass in the fourth quarter during their game against East at Williams Metro Stadium Friday night. (Justin Hayworth/The Des Moines Register)

Coach Miller’s 2011 squad has seen its fair share of dinged up players. The Dodgers have been in physical contests this season which begin to take their toll during the season on wrists, ankles and knees. They opened with a win at Des Moines East (28-19) before back-to-back losses to Urbandale (25-14) and Sioux City North (37-21). Nose guard Gavin Thomas will get his first start of the season after sitting out much of season trying to recover from an injury.

The Dodgers made the playoffs last season and were hoping to get back to the postseason this year. They begin district play next week at Ames. The Dodgers close out the season by hosting West Des Moines Valley.

Last season’s team featured a strong running game that helped QB Levi Peters settle into his role on his new team. This year, the running game behind Sam Edwards is still trying to find its identity. The Dodgers have rushed it 74 times for a 68 yards. Austin Anderson has the most carries and yards (39-104). Tommy Halligan, the starting fullback has no carries this season. Wesley Castro has a couple of touches, but Coach Miller admits the running game is a work in progress.

Fort Dodge's Isaac Lehman grabs a pass over East's Colby Carmicheal in the first quarter during their game at Williams Metro Stadium Friday night. Lehman scored on the play. (Justin Hayworth/The Des Moines Register)

Senior quarterback Sam Edwards has turned to the air, a lot.

He’s 66 of 90 for  879 yards,  7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. That’s good enough for second best passing offense in 4A. His main targets are Isaac Lehman (22-461), Tommy Halligan (15-171) and Wesley Castro (10-103). Look for Tyler Vaughn (4-38), Jaydan Bruhl-Lara (2-31) and Austin Anderson to get some attention for the senior signal caller.

To recap those offensive stats:
Fort Dodge Passing: 61-102, 887 yards, 8 TDs 4 INTs
Fort Dodge Rushing: 74 attempts,  68 yards, 1 TD
By comparrission:
Dowling Passing: 50-84, 776 yards, 6T (need 224 for 1,000) 1 INT
Dowling Rushing: 160 attempts, 951 yards, 13 TDs (need 49 for 1,000)

The Dodgers use a 3-5 defense and like to blitz. Three players coming it not enough, look for as many as 5 or 6 every play. Coach Miller uses players from all over the field to rush the action. But they did give up 371 rushing yards to SC North last week.

Look for linebackers Dillion Christiensen, Cole Jarrard, Jalen Mosley and Adrean Johnston to make the majority of the tackles. They are the team leaders in this category, but also are in the middle of most plays. The stunting puts them in position to make plays.

Friday marks the 5th game of the season for the Maroons. This is the downhill side of the season with the playoff stretch still ahead. If there’s a chance to get starters off the field, look for a lot of different jersey numbers in the game to get playing time for experience against a good team and to keep starters healthy.

We go on the air at 6p from Dodger Stadium in Fort Dodge. We’ll have a surprise for you in our tailgate show and on our sidelines. We’ll be on 1150 KWKY and I believe there is webcast with video available 24 hours after the game. That is being done by the Fort Dodge school.

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