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From barely making the postseason to playing for a state title, Valley Tigers peak at right time

The Valley Tigers will be facing the defending 5A state champs Southeast Polk on Friday in the state championship.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — The Valley Tigers managed to pull off a huge upset in the Class 5A semifinals, overcoming a 14-point deficit to beat Dowling Catholic and advance to the state title game.

Battling back been the running theme all season for the Tigers. They finished the regular season with a 5-4 record and weren't even sure if they would make it to the post season.

"Week in and week out, our team never gave up and week after week, we just kept going at it with a new challenge ahead of us," said senior wide receiver Ayden Price. "Every single week, we took it head on and we found ourselves back in the dome just like we thought we would be."

RELATED: 2022 high school football state semifinal results and highlights

With each playoff win their confidence grew, even if others viewed them as the underdog in each matchup.

"Obviously people outside of this team doubted us, but we never had doubt," said senior defensive end Ryan Kuennen. "I'm super proud of every young kid and every senior that's battled through adversity. We just can't back down. We can't be scared, just keep going at it every play."

Head coach Gary Swenson credits his players for continuing to play hard all season and is proud of how they've been able to overcome adversity.

"I really like what our team has been able to do through the course of an up and down season and that's a credit to them," said Swenson.

Valley will face Southeast Polk on Friday, Nov. 18 at the UNI-Dome at 7:30 p.m.

RELATED: Valley gets comeback win over Dowling Catholic, SE Polk downs Johnston in Class 5A semifinals

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