Week 8 Rewind: Regina Getting Back to Full Strength With Return of Cook at Quarterback

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

In the chess game that is football game planning Regina had been operating without all of its pieces for much of the last month.

One of the most notable pieces missing for the Regals was sophomore quarterback Ashton Cook who missed four games with a lower leg injury.

After shifting its pieces all over the board for most of district play Regina is finally putting everything together at the right time.

Cook passed for a career-high 345 yards and four touchdowns as Regina (5-3) put up season-highs in total offense and points in a 42-22 win over Jesup on Friday.

“I think he has really settled in,” Regina coach Marv Cook said of his son Ashton. “I think he got off to a good start in the first two games until he had the injury but I think he’s got his timing back a little bit and is getting in rhythm with the offense and the passing concepts that we have in the passing game.”

Regina used three different players that all started the season as receivers at quarterback in Cook’s absence.

Bryce Barnett, Patrick Clark and Scott Arendt all spent time under center as Regina went 2-2 without Cook.

With those three players back at receiver and Cook hitting his stride the Regina offense is operating at full speed for the first time.

Bryce Barnett led Regina to district wins over East Marshall and South Hardin in two starts at quarterback.

On Friday Barnett hauled in a career-high 10 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns.

Patrick Clark, another receiver who spent time at quarterback, had two receptions for 27 yards in the win.

“I always felt when I was playing that my experience as a quarterback helped me become a better receiver because I knew where the quarterback wanted me to be and when he wanted me to be there,” Marv Cook said. “I think our guys through this process have been forced to understand the concepts even a little bit more than they did before so I think it’s actually made us better.”

Ashton Cook returned to the field for the first time since a week-two win over Anamosa last week completing 10-of-21 passes for 164 yards and a score in a road win at North Linn.

On Friday Cook had one of the best games of his young career hitting on 25-of-34 passes for 345 yards and four scores.

“I think it’s been good growth for him the last two weeks,” Marv Cook said. “I thought he was making really good reads and our guys were running really good routes and making plays when they were called upon.”

Kieler Brown scored on a 47-yard screen pass and Alec Wick had a 20-yard touchdown grab to go with the two touchdown receptions by Barnett.

With Wick (51 receptions, 643 yards) and the 6-foot-1 Barnett (27-406) and the 6-foot-3 Clark (23-264) all back at receiver the once depleted Regals suddenly have a scary group of pass catchers entering Friday’s district title matchup with top-ranked Dike-New Hartford (8-0).

“You always want to be playing your best ball down the stretch and I think we still haven’t played our best game yet but I think we are getting closer and we are excited about that,” Marv Cook said. “We are getting guys healthy at the right time and that’s going to give us a chance to hopefully give Dike-New Hartford a really good effort.”

Sack Leader: With a pair of sacks on Friday against Muscatine West High senior defensive tackle Landon Green is back on top of the Class 4A sack list.

Green had two sacks among his three tackles for loss and leads 4A in both categories with nine sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss.

Quick Strike Spartans: Solon led Keokuk 14-6 after 12 minutes of action. The Spartans needed just 10 minutes to blow the game wide open.

Third-ranked Solon scored 43 second-quarter points in less than 10 minutes on its way to a 57-6 win.

How does a team rattle of 43 points in 10 minutes? It started with a Hunter Kula touchdown run. Coal Flansburg scored on a 21-yard screen pass from Cam Miller before Kula added a 16-yard scoring run with 4:49 left before halftime.

The Spartans then scored a pair of defensive touchdowns in less than three minutes as Colton Spillman returned an interception for a score and Dillon out ran a fumble into the end zone around an Adam Bock 1-yard TD run.

Bearing Down: West Branch allowed Cascade to march 70 yards for a touchdown while averaging 17.5 yards per play on the opening possession of the game on Friday.

After that the Bears didn’t allow much.

West Branch held Cascade scoreless over the final 46 minutes of the game allowing 82 total yards and an average of 1.9 yards per play after the opening drive in a 26-6 win.

The Bears had three sacks as Jeff Bowie, Cameron Howsare and Javier Zamudio all took down Cascade quarterback Haris Hoffman and forced three turnovers.

Regals Match District Mark: Regina ran its district winning streak to 57 straight with a 42-22 win over Jesup on Friday to match Harlan (2003-2011) for the second longest district winning streak in state history. West Des Moines Dowling (1967-1977) and Emmetsburg (1984-2004) hold the record for most consecutive district wins at 64.

Offensive Performer of the week: In a span of three weeks Bryce Barnett has gone from putting up career-high passing numbers to recording the best receiving stats of his career.

Barnett started the season at receiver, moved to quarterback and is back at receiver where he hauled in a career-high 10 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-22 win over Jesup on Friday.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior had touchdown catches of 16 and 19 yards as Regina improved to 5-3.

Best of the rest: City High junior running back Tonka Hickman rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries in a 49-14 loss to Linn-Mar.

West High senior wide receiver Jalen Gaudet caught three passes for 121 yards and a touchdown in a 58-14 win over Muscatine.

Solon junior quarterback Cam Miller completed 11-of-13 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns in a 57-6 win over Keokuk.

Defensive performer of the week: West Branch junior Tanner Lukavksy has done plenty of damage on offense this season while leading the Bears in rushing.
Lukavsky came up with the play of the game on defense on Friday in a 26-6 win over No. 10 Cascade.

Lukavsky returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown to give West Branch its first lead of the game and finished with four tackles as the Bears improved to 7-1 on the season.

Best of the rest: Solon senior defensive back Dillon Hoit had an interception and returned a fumble for a touchdown as the Spartans forced eight turnovers in a 57-6 win over Keokuk.

Clear Creek Amana senior linebacker Andrew Rohret had 13 tackles including eight solo stops in a 45-7 loss to North Scott.  

Regina defensive back Levi Quinlan had a team-high four tackles and picked off a pass in a 42-22 win over Jesup.

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