It was a tall task for the Waukee football team as they battled with the Class 4A top team in Dowling Catholic to open up the 2019 season Friday night.
The contest was a battle of two top ten ranked teams across the Class 4A landscape as top ten ranked Waukee traveled into Des Moines to take on the Maroons. If you were a fan of offense you weren’t disappointed as both teams combined for over 730 yards of total offense. Both teams totaled over 100 yards each through the air and on the ground. For Waukee, the Warriors posted 133 yards on the ground and added in a strong passing attack with 192 yards through the air.
The first quarter was rather light in scoring but it did see the Warriors jump out to a 3-0 lead after Cade Tjaden knocked in a 27-yard field goal with 5:11 left in the first. That lead was short-lived as Dowling connected on a 66-yard touchdown run by Tegan Johnson. The Maroons would tack on one more score to their lead at the 7:24 mark left in the second half to cap off a 70-yard drive with a 14-3 lead. The second quarter is where the majority of the overall scoring took place including the lengthy pitch and catch between senior Waukee quarterback Mitch Randall and junior Alex Linquist for 65-yards. That score cut the Dowling deficit to a 14-10 lead.
Then Waukee managed the final score of the quarter and connected on 14 unanswered points as Randall capped off a 50-yard drive to earn their second lead of the game 17-14. That looked like it would be the final score of the game until 11:06 left in the fourth quarter when the Maroons capped off another lengthy drive for a 21-17 lead. That is how the game would end, unfortunately handing the Warriors their second straight season-opening loss.
Despite the loss, Mitch Randall had a season opener to remember, scorching the Dowling defense for 192 yards and two scores on 17-of-30 passing for the night. Even though Randall posseses great athletic ability, it was his mindset that was his greatest weapon as foreshadowed by Warrior head coach Scott Carlson.
“The biggest area of growth for Mitch has been in how he attacks the game mentally,” began Carlson. “He’s become more of a student of the game and where before when we would simply say here’s the play go excecute, now he’s reading the defense and opporating the offense based on what he sees from the opposing defense. That’s the next level up for him and that’s what’s going to be a huge weapon for us this season.”
On the ground, it was Linquist to pace the Warriors with 101 yards on 17 carries. Linquist also led the way in receiving with 72 yards and one score through the air. Overall the Warriors collected 325 yards and nearly half of possession time (21:02).
Waukee will be seeking to find the win column for the first time this season when they take on their next opponent which will be reigning state tournament participant Southeast Polk. That game will kick off on Friday, September 6.