State Title Slips Away From Cedar Falls [PHOTOS]
Just when it appeared that Cedar Falls was about to win its second title in school history, West Des Moines Dowling Catholic showed it is still the gold standard of Class 4A football in Iowa.
The Maroons rallied from a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Tigers, 22-16, in the state championship game at the UNI-Dome Friday night (Nov. 16, 2018). A pair of touchdowns by Teagan Johnson with under nine minutes remaining sealed the victory for Dowling, which claimed the title for an unprecedented sixth-consecutive year.
Johnson's first touchdown was, mistakenly, set up Cedar Falls, which botched a snap while trying to punt deep in its own territory. The Maroons recovered at the Tigers' 14-yard line and scored just two plays later at the 8:37 mark.
Dowling's go-ahead score -- Johnson's 2-yard rush -- came at the end of a seven-play, 42-yard drive with 3:58 left to play. The Maroons converted a two-point pass, to go ahead by six.
Cedar Falls still had two chances after that, but couldn't score on either of them. The Tigers' final drive started at Dowlings' 40-yard line, but ended when Connor Jackman intercepted a pass for the Maroons with 1:56 remaining.
The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on Sam Gary's 27-yard touchdown run and Matthew Cook's extra-point kick. Their advantage increased to 13-0 in the second quarter after a pair of Cook field goals, from 31- and 41-yards away.
Cedar Falls' lead was cut to six by halftime, after Dowling scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter.
A 32-yard, third-quarter field goal by Cook -- his third of the game -- was the only points the Tigers scored in the second half.
So, the waiting game continues now for a Cedar Falls team that's hoping to someday win a second championship. The Tigers were playing in their first championship game since 2008 and entered the finale unbeaten. The second-place finish was the fourth in program history for Cedar Falls, which won its only crown in 1986.