Valley Holds Off Dowling Rally For 24-21 Upset Win

Dominique Dafney wanted to make a statement. He wrote “Beat Dowling” on his shirt, wristband and anything else that would hold ink.

The senior wide receiver from Valley had the game of his career with 10 catches and 141 yards and two TDs. But it was his catches in the clutch that helped the Tigers pull the upset over top-ranked Dowling Catholic. The 24-21 win is the Tigers’ first over the Maroons since 2012.

Rocky Lombardi and Dominique Dafney was the 1-2 punch that the Tigers needed to snap the Maroons’ 17-game winning streak. Lombardi passed for 15-28 for 206 yards and two touchdown strikes to Dafney. Drew Gray grinded up the Dowling defense with 97 yards on 32 carries. After a Gabe Honnold 27-yd field goal to take a 3-0 lead, the Tigers recovered a kick off return fumble and capitalized 2 plays later with when Lombardi found Dafney for a 20-yard scoring strike for a 10-0 lead.

Dowling closed the gap to 10-7 on a Ryan Boyle to Charlie Schulte 29-yard touchdown pass. Rocky Lombardi found Dominique Dafney again for an 8-yard scoring pass. With 38 seconds left before halftime, Boyle forced a pass and it was intercepted by Noah Barr and Barr weaves his way for a 38-yard touchdown as Valley went into the half with a 24-7 lead.

Dowling crawled back into the contest as Boyle plunged into the end zone from 1 yard out to make it 24-14, with 8:34 left in the game. After forcing a three-and-out, Dowling hit paydirt once again with another Boyle 2 yard quaterback sneak. That drive was set up by a 42 yard pass play from Boyle (10-20, 138, 1 TD, 2 INT) to Schulte.

But when the Tigers needed to keep a drive going, it was Dafney who made a catch on 4th and 11 to extend the drive and ice the game away.

“It was an awesome win for the kids,” said coach Gary Swenson after the game.

The Tigers open District play at Des Moines Hoover.

The Maroons will host Council Bluffs Lewis Central in district play next Friday.