Waukee’s sterling season came to an end with a 14-9 loss to top-ranked Dowling Catholic on Nov. 8 at Williams Stadium in Des Moines.
The Warriors went 10-2 this season, winning 10 in a row after a narrow one-touchdown loss to West Des Moines Valley in week one. Both of their losses were to teams playing in this weekend’s semifinal at the UNI-Dome, which Waukee was trying to reach for the first time since playing in a Class 3A semifinal 2004.
“We told the guys that they put up an outstanding effort versus Dowling,” coach Scott Carlson said. “While it was a tough way to go out, we are very proud of their efforts and how much they improved this year.”
Waukee’s powerhouse offense entered the contest averaging 392 yards per game, but was held to just 131 against a Dowling defense that recorded six tackles for loss. Trevor Allen ran 20 times for 72 yards, and quarterback Ben Ferkin was 5-of-16 passing for 43 yards.
“They made it tough on us all night long,” Carlson said. “I believe Dowling and Valley had the best defensive fronts we faced this year.”
Ike Bruns kept the Warriors in the game with a three-field goal night. He kicked field goals of 22 and 41 yards in the second quarter, and added a 37-yarder in the fourth. But a promising fourth-quarter drive fizzled without points and Waukee could pull no closer.
Dowling scored both of its touchdowns in the first quarter. Ryan Doyle threw a touchdown to Nate Christian, and Luke DeVenney returned a punt 90 yards for a score.
Doyle ran for 154 yards, but the Warriors held the Maroons to their lowest point total of the season. Dowling averaged 45 points per game, and their previous low was a 31-point effort at Urbandale.
“We felt very good about our defensive effort,” Carlson said. “The defensive staff put together a great game plan, and I think overall the kids did a masterful job of making plays all night long, even when they were in some tough spots.”
Waukee’s 10 wins were the most in a season for the school at the Class 4A level, and matched the record set in 2004 and equaled in 2005. The team went 5-0 to win its first Class 4A division title and outscored its opponents 477-129. Seven of the Warriors’ wins were by 30 points or more.
“I think what we’ll remember about this season is the fact that our kids competed exceptionally well every time they had the opportunity to put on their uniform,” Carlson said. “While the two losses were very disappointing, they were games where our kids competed up to the very end and had a chance to win.
“This was a season that will definitely give us something to build on moving forward.”
The team’s massive senior class numbered 38 and made an impact in every facet of Waukee’s attack this season.
“They did a great job of leading and demonstrating what it takes to compete at the highest level,” Carlson said. “This model will serve us well moving into future years.
“Our underclassmen will have to work very hard to match this type of success, but we do have a number of returners who will now have their chance to provide positive leadership as we prepare for next year.”