CEDAR FALLS, Iowa
Ryan Boyle scored four touchdowns and threw for two TDs as West Des Moines Dowling Catholic overpowered Cedar Rapids Xavier 44-13 Friday night to win the Class 4A state championship.
Boyle and the Maroons (14-0) sliced up a Xavier defense that posted eight shutouts this season and had given up only seven points in four previous playoff games.
Boyle completed his first nine passes and finished 12 of 14 for 283 yards with one interception and kept the Saints (12-2) off balance by running 21 times for another 82 yards.
Xavier led 10-7 after quarterback Quinton Scholer faked a handoff, slipped through a hole on the left side and sprinted 72 yards for a first-quarter touchdown. But Boyle answered with a 3-yard touchdown run a little more a minute later and the Maroons dominated from then on.
Boyle set up that score with a 52-yard pass down the middle to tight end Zach Steenblock. He hit Rico Gafford with passes for 23 and 35 yards to set up his own 1-yard TD plunges and connected with Steenblock on an 83-yard hookup for the Maroons’ first touchdown.
Steenblock caught a short pass, made one move to avoid a tackle and outran the pursuit to the end zone.
Dowling’s ability in all phases was highlighted by a sequence early in the second half.
Xavier’s Ben Valentine intercepted Boyle on the first play of the half, but the Maroons dropped Scholer for back-to-back losses totaling 11 yards and forced a three-and-out. Luke DeVenney returned the ensuing punt 47 yards to the Xavier 14 and Boyle scored from the 1 four plays later.
Even when Xavier appeared to have Boyle corralled, he made something happen. Boyle spun away from a tackler to avoid what looked to be a sure sack late in the third quarter and zipped a 15-yard pass to Grant Palmer at the goal line to make it 41-10.
Dowling shut down Xavier’s running game and often had heavy pressure on Scholer, who finished 7 of 19 for 95 yards and an interception. Brendan Miller, who came in with 1,428 yards rushing, managed only 35 yards in 12 carries for the Saints, the runners-up for the second straight year.
It was the fourth state championship for Dowling, which lost in its first seven appearances in the title games. The Maroons have gone 4-0 in the finals since, and this was their most convincing victory of all.