A Closer Look at The Class 4A and 1A Championship Football Games


Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

Class 4A Title Game 

No. 2 West Des Moines Dowling (11-1) vs. No. 1 West High (12-0)

Where: UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls

When: Friday, 7 p.m. 

Last Season: West Des Moines Dowling 23, West High 10 (4A Title Game)

Player to Watch: West Des Moines Dowling junior running back Jayson Murray has rushed for 1,790 yards and 26 touchdowns and averages 8.2 yards per carry.

Key Stat: The average margin of victory of West Des Moines Valley in nine games at the UNI-Dome during its string of four straight state titles in 24 points.

About the Trojans: West High returned to the state title game for the second straight season with its first shutout at the UNI-Dome since the 1995 title game, a 23-0 semifinal blanking of fourth-ranked Bettendorf.

The Trojans are making their fourth state title game appearance and will be facing Dowling for the third time in those four games.

West High is 3-1 all-time in title games with wins over Dowling in 1995 and 1998 to go with last year’s 23-10 title game setback to the Maroons.

This season it is West High that enters top-ranked after outscoring three postseason opponents by a combined score 99-16.

West High has held opponents to single digit scoring outputs in five straight games and hasn’t allowed more than 290 yards of total offense during that stretch.

The Trojans have been equally impressive on offense averaging 36.8 points and 408 yards of total offense on the season.

Senior quarterback Evan Flitz has thrown for a single-season West High record 2,628 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 70 percent of his passes.

Traevis Buchanan leads the Trojans with 62 receptions for 1,021 yards and 13 touchdowns but four other players have at least 16 receptions for West High led by Jalen Gaudet (39-593).

About the Maroons: Four-time defending champion Dowling will try to add another chapter to what is already the most impressive stretch for a Class 4A program in state history. The only 4A team to win four straight titles, Dowling is 63-3 since the start of the 2013 season and has won 22 consecutive playoff games.

After sneaking past sixth-ranked Johnston 13-10 in the quarterfinals the Maroons avenged their only loss of the regular season and returned to the 4A title game for the fifth straight year with a 44-7 semifinal win over No. 7 Ankeny Centennial.

The three-point win over Johnston in the quarterfinals was just the second game decided by single digits during Dowling’s current 22-game postseason winning streak.

Dowling has been impressive on both sides of the ball leading Class 4A in scoring at 47 points per game while allowing just 14 points per game.

Senior quarterback Blake Clark directs a Dowling offense that averages 475 total yards per game.

Clark has thrown for 1,920 yards and 26 touchdowns with just one interception and rushed for 500 yards and seven scores.

His top target is 6-foot-4 receiver Sam Ingoli who averages 24 yards per catch while rolling up 815 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

Class 1A Title Game

No. 2 Van Meter (12-0) vs. No. 4 Regina (10-2)

Where: UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls

When: Friday, 11 a.m. 

Last Season: Did Not Play 

Player to Watch: Van Meter senior running back Carson Rhodes became the lone player in Class 1A and one of six players in the state to crack the 2,000-yard rushing mark with 87 yards in a semifinal win over West Lyon. Rhodes (5-11, 180) has rushed for 2,026 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Key Stat: Van Meter senior Anthony Lowman threw a 75-yard touchdown pass, caught two touchdown passes including an 83 yarder and returned a fumble 75 yards for a score in the semifinal win over West Lyon.

About the Regals: Regina returned to the state title game for the eighth straight season with a 37-35 win over third-ranked Pella Christian in the semifinals.

The Regals bring a 10-game winning streak into the state title game and are chasing their seventh state title in the past eight seasons after having a string of six straight titles end with a loss to Western Christian in the title game last season.

Regina finished with more than 500 yards of total offense for the third time in the past five games in the semifinals, rolling up 559 yards against a Pella Christian defense that came in giving up 262 yards per game.

Michael Conlon and Ashton Cook combined to pass for 388 yards and three touchdowns in the semifinal win as Regina improved to 11-1 all-time in semifinals

Conlon has passed for 1,862 yards and 18 touchdowns this season while Cook has thrown for 609 yards and four scores.

Senior Isaac Vollstedt leads the Regina ground game with 1,081 yards and 17 touchdowns while Jake Phillips is the top pass catcher with 42 grabs for 625 yard and six scores.

About the Bulldogs: After five straight semifinal losses, including three in the past four seasons, Van Meter finally broke through to the title game with a 35-21 win over top-ranked West Lyon in its 10th consecutive playoff appearance.

Van Meter lost to Western Christian in the 1A semifinals each of the past two seasons and had been outscored 170-57 in five semifinal contests before its win over West Lyon.

Senior quarterback Blake Fryar (6-1, 185) directs the Bulldog offense that averages 39.8 points and 428 yards per game.

Fryar has thrown for 1,652 yards and 25 touchdowns this season and was nearly flawless in the Bulldogs’ semifinal win completing 18-of-20 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns.

Lowman (5-8, 160) and Sam Thompson (6-2, 200) lead a group of six receivers with more than 15 receptions.

Lowman has caught 21 passes for 405 yards and eight touchdowns and Thompson has 26 receptions for 369 yards and seven scores.

Van Meter has been even more impressive on defense, holding nine opponents to six points or fewer.

The Bulldogs have allowed more than 200 yards of offense four times this season and the 324 yards for West Lyon in the semifinal were the most surrendered by Van Meter this season.