The Legendary Season

Class of 74 Home Official 2024 50-Year Reunion Brochure In Memory In Memory, Page 2 Attention, Bounty Hunters!! JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP!! Pray for the Class The "Dowling Catholic" Scandal The Legendary Season Putting It In Perspective Guest Book Photos from the 35th Reunion in 2009 Group Photo From the 40-year Reunion in 2014

A Fitting Candidate for the Iowa Hall of Pride

You know, they have "Hoosiers" about basketball, "Remember the Titans" about football, and "The Final Season" (for the four of us who have seen it) about baseball.

Where's the inspiring story about high school soccer?

Well, here it is!!

The story our grandkids never get tired of hearing. . .

As we, the proud members of the class of ‘74, enter our golden years, we are approached more and more frequently by eager grandchildren or the neighborhood kids asking us to tell the story about "the legendary season."

Some of us honestly don’t know what they’re talking about. And that’s a shame.

Some of us conjure the tale of a heartbreaking loss in Iowa City to Central Davenport, and a human wrecking ball named Curtis Craig. Some bring up wrestling, some baseball.

But I know what they’re talking about. I’ve told the story dozens of times over the past 35 years. Some young Dowling Catholic High School student in a crisp maroon uniform appears at my door looking to sell candy bars for the soccer team -- that kid does not leave without hearing the story of the 1974 Dowling men’s squad.

I didn’t know they had soccer that long ago, they’ll say.

They most definitely did, I tell them. On paper, the 1974 soccer squad was the greatest athletic team to have ever donned the maroon and white (if the '74 soccer team would, in fact, have had uniforms). Coached by Brian McPartland and Bill Cox, the 1974 team had, by the end of the season, amassed every all-time record in the sport.

It does seem to pique their interest to hear that. Sometimes they react in disbelief, but it’s all true.

And not just that, I continue. I personally held three of those records. In 1974, I had the all-time Iowa state records for scoring assists – for a single game, for a season and for a career.

"Shut up!!" they scream. Now, my understanding is that when the kids say "shut up," they’re not really telling me to "shut up." It’s just something they say. Or maybe they really want me to shut up.

Anyway, this is the point where my wife comes out of the kitchen and spoils everything by commanding me, "Okay, now tell them the rest of the story."

Oh, all right.

You see, the 1974 team was the very first soccer team in Iowa. Actually, it was the only high school team in Iowa that year. So the only teams we had to play against were the college teams – the Simpson team, the Grandview team, the Iowa State B team, etc..

I can’t say we were that much up on things like the rules, and strategy, and fundamental techniques. But the weather was nice and we had fun doing it. These college teams, on the other hand, did know something about rules and strategy and fundamental techniques. So score-wise, it wasn’t pretty. We were shut out by Simpson, shut out by Grandview and (twice) shut out by the Iowa State B team.

And then, in the very last game, a rematch against Simpson, a miracle occurred. We weren’t even Dowling "Catholic" High School in those days -- I know that. We were simply Dowling. Nevertheless, it was a true miracle.

As always, we were getting drubbed by the other team. The ball was on the ground rolling toward Greg Funk (I can’t tell you what position he played because I don’t know if we really even had positions on that team). Funk draws back his big size 13 and lets it rip.

If the game had been televised, some South American guy would have bellowed "GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLL!" Even without that, however, we knew history had been made. With that kick, Greg Funk became the all-time scoring leader in Iowa history – for a single game, for a season, and for a career.

"Well, how does that make you the record-holder for assists?" the impatient little snot-nosed, candy-selling, Dowling Catholic High School soccer player interrupts.

"Guess who threw the ball inbounds to Greg Funk," I boast.

"You’re wasting his time," my wife interjects. The little bastard doesn’t disagree, so I send him on his way without a sale.

After closing the door behind him, I lean with my back to the door, hang my head, and heave a nostalgic sigh.

"And then, the following year," I whisper, "the high schools formed a league, and all our records got shot to hell in the very first game."

"How many more times am I going to have to hear that story?" my wife moans.

Our class never got the respect it deserves from anybody.