Chalk talk in the battle for West Des Moines football bragging rights

BILL NEIBERGALL/THE REGISTER West Des Moines Valley's #2 Trey Lewis, right, reached out with a stiff arm to get away from Waukee's #7 Beau Easley, left, on Valley's first possession of game played at Waukee High School's Stadium on Friday night Oct. 14, 2011.

For those of you that like to fill out NCAA Tournament brackets, you know what chalk means.

That’s when you pencil in the Final Four as the #1 seeds in each region.

This year’s 4A Iowa High School football playoff bracket looks almost like chalk. Ankeny (10-1), Southeast Polk (10-1), West Des Moines Valley (11-0) are the top 3 seeds remaining. It is West Des Moines Dowling Catholic (9-2) that crashed the party, wearing the #5 seed as Lincoln was the #4 seed in the tournament.

Valley Coach Gary Swenson is not surprised at who is still standing in the playoffs. He felt the teams mentioned were the best in this portion of the state.

Many think his Tiger team may be the best of the bunch.

Valley spent much of the season ranked #1 in polls. Others listed Cedar Falls, but when they lost their regular season finale, Valley vaulted to the top spot.

Last year at this time, it was the Dowling Catholic Maroons in the top spot. Again, the two teams meet in the post-season. Last year the Maroons won in dramatic overtime fashion.

BILL NEIBERGALL/THE REGISTER West Des Moines Valley quarterback #20 Jeff Pullen was tackled by Waukee's #11 Nick Peters.

Then the Tigers returned the favor in Week 0 of the 2011 season, winning 28-21. The Maroons turned the ball over 3 times in that loss. They also lost Michael Palme on the first play of the game and Jacob Stacy re-injured his knee in the game at Drake Stadium.

Friday night at Valley Stadium the two meet again, this time, with a trip to the UNI-Dome and a spot in the semi-finals, on the line. KWKY will have coverage beginning at 6p with our pregame. Kickoff is scheduled for 7p. Listen at 1150 KWKY AM or KWKY.com. Say hello to us on Twitter.com/KWKYSports.

It will be the 63rd time these two Iowa High School titans meets on the gridiron.

The Tigers feature an outstanding front offensive line anchored by Trevor Hanson. The 6-6 278 pound senior is a dominant force up front, leading two other seniors up front. Hanson is a three-year starter and could play football on Saturday’s if he wants to.

DAN HODGES/PHOTOS FOR THE REGISTER Valley's Tyus Mason #4 gets tripped up during second half action of Monday night's game. Urbandale vs Valley, Class 4A second round playoff football game played at Valley Stadium. Monday, October 31, 2011. Valley 38-13 over Urbandale.

Trey Lewis scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the 4th quarter in the season opener. It was his back up, Tyus Mason, who gave him a breather and a change of pace in running styles for the Dowling D to contend with. That slight change changed momentum in the contest.

The Maroons have their own new wrinkles. They possess two offenses now, one running, one passing. Each featuring a different QB.

Lewis has had an outstanding season  with 1,597 yards on 198 rush attempts. He’s scored 24 touchdowns with his longest of the season being a 49 yarder.

Mason almost half the carries and yards with 99 and 762, respectively and 17 TDs. FB Brandon Ellingson keeps defenses honest with his 25 carries worth 210 yards.

Jeff Pullen has thrown for 1,111 yards on 76 of 127 passing, 8 TDs and 4 INTs. His biggest targets are: Brody Baumann (23-291,1 TD), Tanner Hinkle (24-277 3 TDs), Clint Boffelli (13-232, 3 TDs) and Quentin Smith (11-174 and 1 TD).

The Tigers trailed two times at halftime this season. One against Indianola the other against Marshalltown. Both games turned into routs in the in second half, but Coach Swenson says those were good tests and help build character in his team.

BILL NEIBERGALL/THE REGISTER Waukee quarterback #9 Cole Pederson, left, looked for running room against West Des Moines Valley's left to right: #23 Eric Cushing, #61 Ryan Knoff and #58 Sam Raridon.

This team has also been held below 40 points twice this season, one by Dowling (28) and the other, Urbandale. The J-Hawks kept the Tigers at 38. The most they tallied was the 55 against Mason City and Waukee.

The defense continues to be a strong suit. Marshalltown scored the most points on this team with 24. The Maroons’ 21 is second best.

Tarin Phillips leads the team in tackles with 79. Spencer Hellman has 72 stops. Jacob Bell is at 44 while Eric Cushing is at 42.

How deep are these teams? How will the Dowling D respond to the pounding running style of Lewis? How will Vally handle the two-headed QB monster and a healthy Amara Darboh?

We’ll find out if our bracket is busted or if we live to play another day. The winner plays next Friday in the semi-final.

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