Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – It was the end of an era but far from the end of Regina’s relevance in Class 1A football. The Regals’ 57-game district winning streak and a 14-year streak of playoff berths came to an end with a 56-28 loss to No. 1-ranked Dike-New Hartford.
The Regals, saddled with a very difficult non-district schedule, weathered a string of injuries to key players and still managed to enter this game at 5-3 and 4-0 in the district.
But under the IHSAA’s new playoff system the three losses the Regals suffered, albeit to 3A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier, 2A Williamsburg and 1A No. 10 Pella Christian, cost them precious points and made Friday’s game a do-or-die proposition.
“I just know all my friends left it all out on the field,” Regina senior Scott Arendt said.
“We’ve come such a long way from the beginning of the season, such a long way from seventh- and eighth-grade football,” senior Luke Stein said. “I love my guys forever. I don’t think there’s anything that would change my mind that we should be one of those 16 teams (in the playoffs).”
The Wolverines (9-0, 5-0) are the real deal.
They rushed for 353 yards, passed for another 197 and committed no turnovers. They were just about impossible to stop.
“That’s a team that has the potential to go all the way,” Stein said. “I’ve been a part of two teams that were that kind; I know what it looks like, and they’ve got it.”
“We do our best to do our jobs, but they’re a good team and they would bust a play every now and then and you can’t do anything about it,” Arendt said. “I think they’re probably one of the best teams in the state.”
“They’re really good up front, and then they made plays on the outside,” coach Marv Cook said.
Yet Regina entered the fourth quarter trailing only 35-28 in what was an entertaining offensive shootout.
Sophomore quarterback Ashton Cook threw for 367 yards and two touchdowns. Arendt caught seven passes for 134 yards; Bryce Barnett caught five for 105 yards, and Alec Wick caught eight for 102 yards.
Leading 35-28 to begin the final quarter, Dike-New Hartford unleashed its top weapon, junior running back Cade Bennett, and he tore apart Regina’s defense in the final quarter.
Bennett ran for 148 of his 336 yards in the fourth quarter.
“We just knew we had to keep our focus; we knew we could still get this,” Bennett said.
The Wolverines drove 65 yards in 11 plays for a TD with Bennett carrying the ball eight times.
After the DNH defense stopped Regina and forced a punt, the Wolverines took just three plays to drive 50 yards for another TD, with Bennett’s 48-yard run up the middle the key play.
Dike-New Hartford regained possession on an interception, and on the first play from scrimmage, Bennett bolted 46 yards for his fourth touchdown and a 56-28 lead.
“We have really talented linemen, and they work hard,” Bennett said. “We’ve worked so hard. I think our effort helped us win this game.”
“That’s our bread and butter, just getting that big push up front,” DNH quarterback Drew Sonnenberg said. “They make big holes, and Cade finds them.”
“It might not be a 40-yard play every time, but they don’t make mistakes,” Stein said. “If you’re up in the wrong gap or you don’t do your job it’ll be a 40-yard play. It’s definitely a difficult offense to play when they play downhill like that.”
Regina threw three interceptions, two coming in DNH territory and both of which were converted into Wolverine touchdown drives in the first half.
The Wolverines only real “turnover” came on a personal foul penalty during a Regina punt.
The penalty gave the Regals a first down and kept a drive alive that resulted in a TD.
But Regina just couldn’t keep pace with the Wolverines’ scoring.
“I think we’re a really good football team,” coach Cook said. “We got healthy at the right time. They’re giving me everything they’ve got. I’m really proud of this team. I think my preseason schedule probably bit us a little especially with all the injuries early. But we were in a position where we were playing for a playoff spot.”
First downs 22 22
Rushing-yards 353 79
Comp-Att-Int 9-11-0 25-45-3
Passing-yards 197 367
Punts-avg. 2-8.5 3-30.6
Fumbles-lost 3-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 4-25 5-66
DNH – Cade Bennett 30 run (Isaac Jorgensen kick)
DNH – Drew Sonnenberg 1 run (Jorgensen kick)
ICR – Kieler Brown 12 run (Michael Dunn kick)
ICR – Scott Arndt 23 pass from Ashton Cook (Dunn kick)
DNH – Parker Kiewiet 74 pass from Sonnenberg (Jorgensen kick)
DNH – Bennett 17 run (Jorgensen kick)
ICR – Arendt 1 run (Dunn kick)
DNH – Bennett 18 run (Jorgensen kick)
ICR – Alec Wick 19 pass from Cook (Dunn kick)
DNH – Sonnenberg 1 run (Jorgensen kick)
DNH – Bennett 46 run (Jorgensen kick)
RUSHING – DNH: Cade Bennett 33-336, Cade Fuller 3-7, Tim Koop 1-4, Drew Larsen 2-4, Drew Sonnenberg 6-2, Kaleb Brouwer 1-2, Tristin Cleveland 1-1, Team 1-(-1). ICR: Kieler Brown 16-69, Scott Arendt 3-11, Andrew Hartwig 4-5, team 2-(-6).
PASSING – DNH: Drew Sonnenberg 8-10-0-172, Cade Fuller 1-1-0-25. ICR: Ashton Cook 25-44-2-367, Scott Arendt 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING – DNH: Parker Kiewiet 5-143, Tim Koop 2- 32, Cade Fuller 1-11, Ely Sohn 1-11. ICR: Scott Arendt 7-134, Bryce Barnett 5-105, Alec Wicck 8-102, Patrick Clark 2-17, Kieler Brown 3-9.
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