Two weeks ago, Des Moines East was sitting at 1-2 in their district and facing a crucial game against Ames. In a blink of an eye, there was no game. A false internet threat of violence at East set off a wild chain of events that resulted in Ames backing out of playing at East and the Scarlets being forced to forfeit. After several days of outrage and bewilderment, the forfeit was changed to a “no contest”, which meant the game didn’t count on East’s record.
The events gave East (4-4) a chance to reset and control their own destiny towards the playoffs. After a resounding win over Sioux City North, what was once a lost opportunity now became a reality for Coach Greg Schoon’s bunch: a playoff run.
The old saying goes, to be the best you have to beat the best. The Scarlets will get that chance as they drew #4-ranked West Des Moines Valley in a Class 4A 1st round game Wednesday night at Valley Stadium.
East racked up 581 total yards, 472 on the ground in their 62-35 thumping of S.C. North. Quarterback Chino Alcala rushed for 250 yards and passed for 109, while running back Brandon Trotter racked up 233 yards against the Stars’ defense. Alcala’s go-to receivers have been Josh Davis and Jaylin James, who have combined for a little over 850 receiving yards and 50 receptions between them.
Lead by linebackers Rory Walling and Juleo Harris, East High’s defense leads Class 4A in takeaways. Walling, a sophomore, has been nothing short but impressive in the defensive lineup.
The Valley Tigers (8-1) dominated Des Moines Lincoln, 62-0, in their regular season finale. Everyone knows about the usual suspects of (Rocky) Lombardi, (Dominique) Dafney, and (Drew) Gray, but Mr. Versatility, Blake Salsbury, is called upon to contribute in any way for Gary Swenson’s Tigers. He scored both a running and receiving TD against the Rails on Friday, from his fullback position. Gray broke the 1,000 yard rushing barrier by picking up 147 yards on the ground and two touchdowns against the Railsplitters (3-6). Dafney had another stellar performance, hauling in 6 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
Will East find a way to chip away at Valley and put a monkey wrench into the Tigers’ pursuit of a state title, or will Valley send the Scarlets packing for the winter?
Who: Des Moines East 4-4) at #4 WDM Valley (8-1)
Where: Valley Stadium, West Des Moines, Iowa
When: Wednesday, October 29th, 7:00pm kickoff
The Facts: East defeated SC North 62-37 and finished 2-2 for 4th place in Class 4A District 1. Valley cruised to a 62-0 win over DM Lincoln, completing an 8-1 season and a 4A District 4 title and plus have won 8 straight. The last time the Scarlets and the Tigers met, ironically, was a first-round playoff game on November 3, 2004. Valley eliminated East 49-14, en route to a runner-up finish for the 4A state title (losing to Bettendorf 34-22).
Things to watch:
- Will there be enough East athleticism to score a program-defining win?
- Can East’s defense force Valley’s offense to turn the ball over?
- Will a rested and healthy Valley be primed for a run towards the UNI-Dome?
- 8 straight wins for Valley, will 9 be fine for the Tigers behind a stingy D?
Des Moines East – Projected Lineups
Offensive starters – QB Chino Alcala; RB Brandon Trotter; WR Quincy Green, Juleo Harris, Gerald Sama, and Hunter Kahler; C Tim Carney, G Case Tillotson and David Razo, T Billy White and Zach Stemsrud.
Defensive starters – FS Hunter Kahler, CB Quincy Green and Gerald Sama, LB Rory Walling, Austin Hunter, Jonathan Harrington and Juleo Harris; DE Billy White and Cirima Bangura, DT Alex Contreras, NG Eric Ridgner
Special Teams – P Chino Alcala, K Javier Guerrero, LS Rory Walling, KR Brandon Trotter, PR Juleo Harris and Quincy Green
Valley – Project Starting Lineups
Offensive starters – QB Rocky Lombardi, RB Drew Gray and Blake Salsbury, WR Dominique Dafney and Austin Hronich, TE John Gliniecki, T Cody Genzen and Sam Rogers, G John Rairdon and Zachary Matt, C Brady Smith
Defensive starters – NG Trey Walsh, DT Dan McCoy and Zach Downs, DE Austin Turner, CB Matt Vertin and Turner Scott, LB Nick Yencer, Mason Berg and Ben Campos, S Gabe Honnold and Keller Prien
Special Teams – P Zach Downs, K Cole Hahn, KR Javon Mason
Our live pregame show on the Central Iowa Sports Network (centraliowasportsnetwork.com) will begin at 6:50 pm, with kickoff at 7 pm.
The game will be live streamed audio only.
Join Paul Yeager, Dar Danielson, and Keith Borness for the play-by-play, with Jim Kirby on the field with the Scheels sideline report.
Follow us on Twitter @CISportsNet for updates throughout the game.