Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Scott Blondin has been a part of the Regina football program long enough to know how everything works.
From the off-season workouts to the offensive and defense play calls Blondin pretty much has it down.
What Blondin knows as well as any player to come through Regina during its decade-long run of dominance is how to play the waiting game.
Like many players before him Blondin had to wait for his chance to make an impact at the varsity level.
When the wait finally ended for Blondin this fall the senior was prepared to make the most of his opportunity.
“He’s that prototypical Regina kid,” Regina coach Marv Cook said. “As a freshman he was that guy giving us a look, he was the one taking on the big fullbacks and linebackers and used it to get better. When’s he’s got his opportunity he’s made the most of it.”
Blondin had to wait a little longer than most players.
After playing exclusively in a reserve role as an underclassmen Blondin earned a starting spot at linebacker last season but a torn ACL in his right knee sustained in a week-three win over Wapello extended his wait another year.
“It was really hard at first being positive because I had waited for a long time to play and worked really hard wanting to be a big part of the team last year,” Blondin said. “I was kind of discouraged at first but I had a lot of teammates and coaches helping me out.”
After waiting his entire high school career for an opportunity to make an impact Blondin came up career-best performances in back-to-back games earlier this season.
Blondin rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Anamosa in week two.
Seven days later Blondin made a career-high and team-leading 10.5 tackles in a 24-21 loss to Pella Christian.
“For him last year to have to sit out basically the season and then to sit out wrestling too was tough and we just tried to let him know there was a lot left in his senior year and he has taken advantage of it,” Cook said. “He came in ready to go and he’s playing at an MVP level for us.”
After waiting his whole career for a chance to star on Friday nights what was the career highlight for Blondin a 100-yard, two-touchdown performance or the 10.5 tackles?
According to Blondin, who had his perspective changed following his injury and months of rehabilitation it was neither of those that stood out.
“Just playing at all is the best feeling,” Blondin said. “I had fun in the Xavier game when we got beat pretty bad. Even though we lost that game I still had fun. It was just fun being out there.”
Following the injury Blondin had two goals. To get back on the field and to be better than ever when he returned.
Four games into his senior season he has made good on both.
“Once I got started with the rehab I was really determined to get back to where I was and then be better than I was,” Blondin said. “I wanted to come back stronger and faster and better.”
The 5-foot-11, 171-pound linebacker is second on the team with 25.5 tackles and leads Regina with 147 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
His success at linebacker is surprising.
Blondin made seven tackles in the first two games a year ago before his injury.
“He’s not the biggest guy but he’s strong and quick and he’s got the top end speed when he gets going he can run,” Cook said. “I like him a lot as an athlete.”
The success at running back has been more of a surprise.
Blondin had four carries for 22 yards in his first three seasons and didn’t have a carry in the season-opening loss to Cedar Rapids Xavier.
In the week leading up to the Anamosa game Regina coaches tried Blondin at running back and liked what they saw.
“Honestly we never really thought about him offensively and all of a sudden we thought he could do it so we worked him a week and his first game he plays he gets 20 carries and over 100 yards rushing and did a really nice job for us,” Cook said. “He was pretty amazing at it.”
Blondin had a pair of one-yard touchdown runs in the 34-15 win at Anamosa but didn’t realize the extent of his workload at running back until after the game.
“I didn’t even know I had carried the ball 20 times, it just felt like I carried it a few times and when I looked at it I didn’t realize that,” Blondin said. “It was surprising but it was a lot of fun.”
Fun has been a constant for Blondin since returning from his injury.
He is enjoying every moment of his final football season at Regina something else he vowed to do when he returned to the field.
“It just taught me to take every play like it could be your last because it really could be,” Blondin said. “I learned last year that anything could be your last time so it’s changed the way I look at being on the field.”
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