They have combined to win eight state titles since 2000 and the state’s most dominant 4A football programs renew their rivalry this evening as second ranked Dowling Catholic plays sixth ranked West Des Moines Valley at Drake Stadium. It is not the playoffs and these teams aren’t even in the same division but the game still carries a great deal of meaning.
“I think it’s the history that goes along with it and also obviously, it’s a big game in our community with the schools being so close together,” Dowling coach Tom Wilson says, He says beating Valley begins with slowing down their ground game. “Tyus Mason has been a 3-year starter there, and is a tremendous football player. He looks healthy after coming off some injuries and I think they have a tremendous offensive line,” according to Wilson.
Valley coach Gary Swenson says it’s easy to get the players ready for this one. “For both schools I think it’s the number one rival on our respective schedules. So it’s always a fun game, and every year it carries a little bit different picture with different kids. Every year you lose a group that either had success or was disappointed the previous year and then you come back and do it all over again,” Swenson says. He says each game is important to the players, schools and communities, and that is what makes it exciting.
Valley opened with a victory over Waukee but Swenson says they will need to be much better against the Maroons. “They’ve got very good players, and the coaching staff does a good job with that team,” he says. Swenson believes this is one of the better Dowling teams he has seen.