Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – The post-game hugs and raw emotion on display gave ample evidence that this was not just another game to Pella Christian’s football team.
The Eagles were eliminated by Regina in the 1A playoffs the last two seasons by scores of 45-43 (quarterfinals) and 37-35 (semifinals). On Friday the Eagles prevailed, 24-21, on Regina’s home field.
“It’s an amazing feeling. We worked so hard for the past four years, and we finally got it,” senior Noah Treimer said. “Nothing beats this feeling.”
Sixth-ranked Regina fell to 1-2 while the No. 10-ranked Eagles are 2-1.
“They’re a great team,” Regina coach Marv Cook said. “We’ve played them the last several years. They are extremely well-coached and their kids play hard. I liked the game. It was a great, competitive game. I thought we had it; I really did. I thought we were in control. We made mistakes the second half and they capitalized on them.”
Regina started senior quarterback Scott Arndt in place of the injured sophomore Ashton Cook, and Arndt was outstanding as the Regals built a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter.
Arndt threw for 195 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. On Regina’s first scoring drive he scrambled, bought time and found Bryce Bennett behind the defense for a 32-yard gain and then completed a 9-yard TD pass on fourth-and-goal to Patrick Clark.
He threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Clark that came after a double reverse and a return flip of the ball to Arndt.
That gave the Regals a 14-0 second-quarter lead.
When Regina converted a Luke Stein fumble recovery into a 20-yard TD drive early in the third period, the Regals looked comfortable with a 21-7 lead.
Then the game turned on a dime.
Pella Christian was looking at a third down and 25 on its own 5-yard line. Treimer got loose for a 15-yard gain and went out of bounds along the Regal sideline.
The referees called an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Regina that gave Pella Christian a first down at the 35.
Instead of getting the ball back in what undoubtedly would be great field position and with all the momentum in the world, Regina had to play defense and PC had life.
“That was huge. That changed the tide of the whole entire game,” Treimer said. “It totally flipped it and gave us the upper hand.”
The Eagles converted that opportunity into a scoring drive with Treimer catching a 53-yard TD pass from Dan Jungling to cut the lead to 21-14.
“It was a beautiful throw by our quarterback, Dan, and he put it in a perfect spot,” Treimer said. “I was just determined to catch it and take it into the end zone, and that’s what happened.”
Cook said he was told that one of his players said something that prompted the penalty.
Treimer, the team’s leading rusher and receiver, had been held in check most of the first half, but when the Eagles could get him out into the open he used his speed and maneuverability to cause havoc.
Regina still held the lead and in its next two drives got as far as the Pella Christian 16-yard line. But the Regals could not score. Regina failed to score on four drives inside the PC 20.
“The field gets a little compressed,” Cook said. “We were doing a lot of things offensively with our skill players. There were all kinds of different things that factor into that equation. But a lot of it is Pella Christian. They played tough, and they get after it.”
In the fourth quarter the Eagles drove 80 yards for the tying touchdown. Treimer scored on a 49-yard run off the left side in which he eluded about 10 different would-be tacklers.
“I have amazing blockers. I just trust in my line, and they did their job,” he said.
Clearly the momentum had taken a turn. Regina couldn’t move the ball and had to punt.
Pella Christian drove 44 yards to the Regina 3. While the Regal defense kept the Eagles out of the end zone, senior Nathan DeBruin kicked a 20-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 24-21 lead with just 2:17 left to play.
Regina’s rushing attack was severely limited, generating 63 yards in 43 attempts.
Arndt was stopped behind the line of scrimmage 10 different times. Regina did effectively use a short passing attack with multiple receivers but had almost no complementary rushing.
“We want to spread the field sideline to sideline,” Cook said. “We took some negative plays that hurt us a lot. We had holding penalties that put us second-and-20.”
Regina travels to Williamsburg next week.
First downs 13 19
Rushing-yards 25-83 45-63
Comp-att-int 17-26-1 18-33-2
Passing-yards 185 251
Punts-avg. 3-26 3-31.6
Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-0
Penalties-yards 5-45 8-64
Pella Christian 0 7 7 10 – 24
Regina 7 7 7 0 – 21
ICR – Patrick Clark 9 pass from Scott Arndt (Michael Dunn kick)
ICR – Patrick Clark 33 pass from Arndt (Dunn kick)
PC – Noah Treimer 12 run (Nathan De Bruin kick)
PC – Treimer 53 pass from Dan Jungling (DeBruin kick)
PC – Treimer 49 run (DeBruin kick)
PC – DeBruin 20 field goal
RUSHING – PC: Noah Treimer 9-69, Moises Carballo 6-16, Dan Jungling 9-3. ICR: Kieler Brown 6-40, Scott Blondin 11-29, Nick Milder 2-10, Scott Arndt 24-(-3).
PASSING – PC: Dan Jungling 17-26-1-185. ICR: Scott Arndt 18-33-2-251.
RECEIVING – PC: Jayden Huisman11-104, Noah Treimer 3-58, Nathan DeBruin 2-18, Keyle Fynaardt 1-5. ICR: Kieler Brown 6-78, Alec Wick 5-57, Patrick Clark 3-48, Bryce Bennett 2-38, Nick Milder 2-30.
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