4-A football: Dowling's special teams keep Waukee at bay

4-A football: Dowling's special teams keep Waukee at bay

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4-A football: Dowling's special teams keep Waukee at bay

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For a team with an all-state quarterback and an all-state defense, it’s almost unfair for Dowling Catholic’s opponents that the Maroons also have an otherworldly set of special teams.

But those were the cards Waukee got dealt Friday night in the Class 4-A semifinals.

The fifth-ranked Warriors kept Ryan Boyle in check for stretches and they moved the ball consistently for three quarters, but Waukee couldn’t handle Dowling in the kicking game as the Maroons advanced to the state title game for the second straight year with a 41-28 win inside the UNI-Dome.

Boyle accounted for 267 yards and had a hand in three touchdowns. Dowling’s defense picked off four passes, including three by Dante Campero. But on a night when Waukee nearly matched the Maroons yard for yard, the Warriors couldn’t keep pace on special teams.

And to be fair, probably nobody else could have, either.

Dowling’s special teams set up scoring drives of 8, 13 and 3 yards that led to 13 points — the final margin of victory.

“We spent an awful lot of time on (special teams), and we’ve got talent,” said Dowling coach Tom Wilson, whose team used two blocked punts to pull away from Waukee for a 45-14 win in their September meeting. “Our kids buy into that. They understand how important it is, and it’s been proven time and time again that it can win games for us.”

The Maroons (12-1) punched their pass to next Friday’s championship game against top-ranked Cedar Rapids Washington (13-0).

Dowling buried Waukee under a 24-point first-quarter avalanche that was aided by a high snap that punter Tyler Speight couldn’t handle. It led to an 8-yard Boyle touchdown run on the next play.

Later in the quarter, Michael Zachary scooped up a ball off the turf and took it back 59 yards to set up a field goal.

“(The kicking game) has been a big advantage in every game we’ve ever had,” said Zachary, who leads the state with four punt return touchdowns. “It’s a really big advantage because it just demoralizes the other team because we get points off it.”

Nick McLellan drilled field goals of 34 and 42 yards, and Aaron Krah returned a kickoff 64 yards to set up a score to help Dowling spoil a Waukee (11-2) comeback bid.

Trevor Allen ran for 201 yards and two touchdowns and defensive end Anthony Nelson picked up a fumble and rambled 56 yards for a score, but the Warriors could never completely dig their way out of the first-quarter deficit.

“You can’t spot that caliber of a football team 24 points and expect to have much of a fighting chance,” Waukee coach Scott Carlson said. “I do give our kids an incredible amount of credit for being very, very resilient in that situation and I think that showed the character of our team tonight. But unfortunately it was too much, too fast and we couldn’t overcome it in the end.”

Dowling smashed the 4-A single-season scoring record, running its season total to 649, 40 more than Ankeny’s 2012 title team. Yet the Warriors stuck with the top offense in 4-A in terms of yardage. Dowling finished with 397. Waukee had 384.

The margin wasn’t as close on special teams.

“They probably have more athletes in the kicking game than a lot of teams do,” Carlson said. “They’re electric in their ability to do things. You have to be so well prepared, and believe me, we spent our fair share of time preparing for that. But in the end, it still wasn’t enough.”

Dowling

Waukee

First downs

19

18

Rushes-Yards

50-252

47-271

Passing

145

113

Comp-Att-Int

6-15-0

11-25-4

Fumbles-Lost

1-1

0-0

Penalties-Yards

2-27

2-20

Dowling

24

10

7

0

41

Waukee

0

14

7

7

28

D—Schulte 25 pass from Boyle (McLellan kick)

D—Boyle 8 run (McLellan kick)

D—Kasap 1 run (McLellan kick)

D—McLellan 34 FG

W—Schneiter 21 pass from Ferkin (Gale kick)

W—Allen 1 run (Gale kick)

D—McLellan 42 FG

D—Boyle 5 run (McLellan kick)

W—Allen 5 run (Gale kick)

D—Kasap 50 run (McLellan kick)

W—Nelson 56 fumble return (Gale kick)

Individual Leaders

Rushing—D: Boyle 30-122, Kasap 10-84; Allen 25-201, Ferkin 17-60.

Passing—D: Boyle 6-15-0-145; W: Ferkin 11-2325-4-113.

Receiving— D: Fardal 4-74, Schulte 2-71; W: Schneiter 6-74.

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