By Romelle Slaughter
In a perfect world, people would ask for an encore performance and they receive one.
But what type of encore will Dowling Catholic give this year? After all, they are the two-time defending Class 4A champions. The next question is how will they win their third straight title without the likes of Ryan Boyle, Nick Wilson, and Max Morris?
If you asked the Maroons’ football Tom Wilson, it won’t be easy to replace that amount of talent, but they will fill in with capable players. With 40+ letterwinners, including the only returning starter Michael Zachary who will not be eligible to play until October. Cole Deskin, Michael Palme and Brawntae Wells saw significant game time during the season, the Maroons still have a target on their back as they prepare for the road to the UNI-Dome.
Junior Cole Deskin will take over full-time in the backfield after an 80 carry, 511 yards, 8 touchdowns performance last season and will be expected to be the workhorse on offense. Deskin also turned heads this spring for his work on the track. Kurt Walding and J.T. Brown will compete to replace Ryan Boyle at quarterback. Both Walding and Brown combined for 6-10 passing for 47 total yards last season. That pales in comparison to Ryan Boyle, who racked up 137-221, 18 touchdowns for 1934 yards in his final season as the Maroons’ signal-caller.
Cole Scieszinski will fill see more time at receiver. Alec Hemann replaces “Mr. Perfect” Nick McClellan at placekicker.
Ross Otte and Michael Zachary will lead the Maroons’ defense, which will need to replace standouts Max Morris, Nick Wilson, Jo Jo Jok, and Dante Campero.
Dowling Catholic stats
Head Coach: Tom Wilson,
Assistant Coaches: Jim Williams, Grant Bousum, Jay Campbell, Craig McClain, Adam Jack, Andy Pollock, Jeff Motz, Fred Tiernan, Steve Smith, Ryan Van Veen, Luke Bengtson, Aundra Meeks
Returning offensive players with significant time
QB J.T. Brown and Kurt Walding, SR
WR Cole Scieszinski, SR
RB Cole Deskin, SR
Returning defensive starter
LB Michael Zachary
Total Returning Starters: 1
Total Returning Letterwinners: 40+
Offensive Scheme: Spread
Defensive Scheme: 4-2-5
Facts & Info: Former Johnston star Luke Bengston joins the Dowling staff. Bengston returns to the Des Moines area after being on the University of Arkansas staff. The Maroons will strive to be the first Class 4A school to win three straight football titles. Six schools, including Dowling (Bettendorf, Linn-Mar, Iowa City High, Iowa City West, WDM Valley) has won back-to-back titles. Dowllng and Bettendorf has won back-to-back twice since the playoff era began in 1972.
2015 Schedule (district games in bold)
Aug. 28 @ Cedar Rapids Xavier
Sept. 4 vs. Urbandale
Sept. 11 @ Waukee
Sept. 18 vs Valley (at Drake Stadium)
Sept. 25 @ CB Lewis Central
Oct. 2. @ SC East
Oct. 9 vs. Johnston
Oct. 16 @ DM Roosevelt
Oct. 23 vs. DM North