Throw the records out the window, it is time for the second season.
The Iowa High School Football playoffs begin Wednesday night across the state. And on-cue, the weather is about to make things interesting from Decorah to Red Oak with a cold snap.
Who will ‘shock the state’ with an upset or who will be put to pasture to get ready for basketball and wrestling?
West Des Moines Dowling Catholic begins, in earnest, their defense of the 4A football crown. The Maroons finished the regular season 7-2 with losses to top-seeded West Des Moines Valley and 3 seed Southeast Polk. They last played 13 days ago in a 21-7 victory at Indianola. They 10-week schedule of 9 games gave the Maroons a bye last week to heal and prepare for the stretch run.
Wednesday’s 7p kickoff at Williams Stadium at East High School should see the return of super-prep Amarah Darboh. The 6′, 200 pound senior FL missed the last 4 games with a shoulder injury suffered in that loss at Southeast Polk. The Maroons went 3-1 in his absence with the season’s signature win against Ankeny.
The KWKY pregame show begins at 6p Dave, Brian, Paul and Romelle. You can hear the game on 1150 KWKY or KWKY.com.
Even with missing 4 games, Darboh still leads the team in receptions (30) receiving yards (442) and receiving touchdowns (6). Brandon Ogden is second in catches and yards by going 25-366.
How much does Darboh get used Wednesday night? That is up to Coach Tom Wilson and how well that shoulder holds up. Darboh was in street clothes against Indianola, but was playing catch with teammates in warm-ups.
Another injured senior who could be ready for the second season is Matt Merfeld. The 5’9″, 185 pounder was injured in the Des Moines East game back on September 2nd. He missed the final 6 games of the regular season. Merfeld also contributed with 23 tackles, which is still 9th best on the team.
Ames is 4-5 and has seen their share of injuries. Receivers Adam Maher, Luke Wandling and Bo Brammer have been sidelined. Safety Jake Mills went out earlier in the season as well. Plus, QB Sam Straub, who missed 2 starts because of a broken thumb, injured his leg in last week’s 26-0 loss in their regular season finale against Waukee. According to that same Ames Tribune article Mike Mayberry played QB in Straub’s spot before giving way to freshman QB Matt Flummerfelt. The sophomore starter, Alex Brammer was unavailable to be used because he played 4 quarters of the sophs game earlier that night.
Mayberry is the team’s leading receiver with 32 catches worth 518 yards. He and his second cousin Nick Mayberry were featured earlier this year in an Ames Trib story. Both are juniors. Mike has 4 TDs in the leading receiver spot. His career night came against Marshalltown when he had 171 yards in 9 catches.
Overall the Little Cyclones rushing stats are 232 carries for 1,032 yards and 15 TDs. The passing game, is 121-268 for 1,298 yards, 15 INTs and 8 TDs. The offense has been sputtering a bit, only scoring 19 points in their last 3 games while allowing 123 in that same span. They’ve lost 4 straight to Waukee (26-0), Marshalltown (56-19), Valley (41-0) and Ft. Dodge (28-20). Coach Bruce Vertanen‘s last victory came on September 16th against Mason City. They started the season 4-1.
Straub is a sophomore and so is Spencer Shane. He’s had to learn the varsity speed of the game early, grabbing 7 catches for 137 yards. For the season he’s got 10 grabs and 170 yards. Hanson Breitling has 25 catches for 145 yards. His primary role is to run the ball. He’s the team’s leading rusher with 149 attempts for 730 yards and 10 TDs.
Defensively the top tackler is Ryan Griffith with 44 stops. Tom McClelland is next with 43 tackles followed by Dean VanEvery‘s 38.
The defense that’s allowed 30.75 points per game will be put in the hot seat agains the Maroons who’ve been averaging 21 points a game the last four contests.
The winner of this contest plays the victor of the week 9 rematch of DM Lincoln hosting DM East. That game will be Monday night.