A pair of top ranked teams collide to open the high school football season as class 4A number one Dowling Catholic hosts class 3A top ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier. This is a rematch of last year’s 4A title game won by Dowling and one of several new early season matchups that were brought about by the move to district play in the eastern half of the state.

“I think we are only seeing the beginning, obviously us playing Xavier, I know City High, Iowa City West, Cedar Falls all have games in this area. So I think no only in the next two years, but probably after that you’ll continue to see it,” Dowling coach Tom Wilson says.

While many of the names for Xavier are new the style remains the same. “It’s just a tough physical, blue collar football program. It’s something that I respect an awful lot,” Wilson says.

A season opener always has a number of question marks but a key for the Maroons is the return of Iowa bound quarterback Ryan Boyle. He says that helps trying to put the new players in on offense. It is a new era for Xavier which drops to Class 3A this year. Dowling is the only team on this year’s schedule the Saints played in 2013.

Xavier coach Duane Schulte says they will be playing a lot of teams they have never played before. Even though the non district games don’t count toward the post season they still carry a lot of meaning. “When the ball is snapped, nobody is thinking ‘hey this play doesn’t matter.’ If they are, then they shouldn’t be on the field. So, even though it doesn’t count in terms of the playoff situations, there’s not a coach or player out there that doesn’t want to win the game they are playing, and I think it will be that way this year too,” according to Schulte.