CEDAR FALLS — Iowa City High left the UNI-Dome without a title repeat.
And, Coach Dan Sabers said, without second-guessing and regret.
Top-ranked West Des Moines Dowling scored the final 17 points of the game, including Dalton Parrott’s 3-yard run in overtime, and outlasted No. 2 City High, 38-31, to win the Class 4A state football championship Friday night.
The Maroons (14-0) won their third championship. They also reigned in 2000 and 2001.
City High saw a 27-game win streak come to an end.
Eric Lee’s interception of City High quarterback Andrew McNulty on fourth-and-14 clinched it. After the trophy presentations, the Little Hawks trudged slowly across the UNI-Dome carpet toward their locker room.
City High (13-1) took a 31-21 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Maroons fought back.
Parrott’s 2-yard run brought Dowling within 31-28 with 6:03 to play, then an ill-executed fake punt by the Little Hawks on fourth-and-8 gave the Maroons the ball at the City 48 with 2:30 to go. McNulty, also the City punter, looked for a receiver but couldn’t locate one, and his pass fell incomplete.
Sabers defended the decision.
“No regrets,” he said. “No. No. We play that way. That’s who we are. Obviously, if we get (the first down) there, the game is probably over. It always looks bad when it doesn’t work.
“(The fake) has been good to us (this season). We’ll live with that.”
McNulty said, “We were at midfield and took a chance. It didn’t go the way we wanted.”
Dowling drove to the City 5 before settling for Mac Chapman’s game-tying 23-yard field goal with 15 seconds left.
Then the Maroons extended the wave of momentum into overtime.
“We were ahead, and didn’t execute,” said City High’s Adam Prybil.
City High won the overtime coin flip, and naturally chose to play defense first. But Dowling struck quickly. Quarterback Connor Bravard connected with Andrew Pick for 7 yards, then Parrott reached the end zone on second down.
The Little Hawks could not answer. Two running plays by McNulty netted nothing, then he was sacked to set up fourth-and-the-season from the 14.
Lee intercepted McNulty’s pass to the left corner of the end zone. It was City High’s lone turnover of the night.
Bravard completed 18 of 25 passes for 269 yards and rushed for 143 yards on 20 carries.
The game featured 877 yards of offense — 477 by Dowling, 400 by City High. The teams traded scoring jabs all night.
But the last haymaker was delivered by the Maroons.
“Any time you’re down like that and come back, it’s really exciting,” said Dowling’s Ben Boesen, who caught two TD passes in the first half. “We had a great effort late in the game on both sides of the ball.”
City High led, 14-13, at halftime, then extended it to 21-13 on Prybil’s 2-yard run with 8:06 left in the third quarter.
Parrott’s 8-yard TD run — and Bravard’s 2-point conversion — made it 21-21.
City High reclaimed the lead on Cedric Readus’ 76-yard run. He took the ball right on a sweep, was sprung by a block by Conner Alberhasky, broke a tackle and was gone. Readus finished with 171 yards on 23 carries.
Drew Cornwell’s 27-yard field goal gave City its biggest lead, 31-21, with 0:33 left in the third.
But the Little Hawks couldn’t hold it.
“This stings a little bit,” Sabers said. “But Dowling came back and played great.”