IOWA CITY – Less than a second.
Iowa City Regina didn’t even use a full tick on the game clock to turn a break open a tight contest.
The top-ranked Regals scored two touchdowns with 0.7 seconds remaining in the first quarter and ran away with a 41-16 win over No. 9 West Branch in the Class 1A District 6 opener prep football game Friday night at Regina. The Regals extended its win streak to 45 straight games, surpassing Ankeny (1932-38) for fifth-longest in state history.
Regina (3-0) clung to a 7-0 lead with less than a minute to play in the first quarter when Riley Dixon capped a five-play, 80-yard drive with a 40-yard touchdown run. He slipped through a hole on the right side, broke a tackle and split two defenders, crossing the goal line with less than a second left in the quarter.
West Branch (2-1) fielded the ensuing kickoff and returned it about 15 yards. The ball was stripped and popped right into the arms of Regina’s Adam Ries, who turned and ran 22 yards for the score with no time left.
Ries witnessed teammate Michael Adam holding up the West Branch returner and ripping at the football.
“He finally got it loose and he gave me a gift right in my lap,” Ries said. “I saw nothing but green in front of me. It was just a great feeling.”
Less than one second. Two scores. Three-touchdown lead.
“That sudden change is something we try to work on in practice and try to overcome,” Regina Coach Marv Cook said. “Those are obviously big things.”
A West Branch miscue began the scoring outburst 5:25 earlier. The Bears, who moved the ball well in their first and third drives only to settle for a punt and missed field goal, fumbled inside their own 30 on their second drive. Regals linebacker Justin Hunter picked up the ball and rumbled 17 yards for the first touchdown.
“Two obviously great individual plays, but the fun part is it’s done by a group of 11 guys working together,” Cook said. “That’s what makes it really exciting.”
Hunter was thrilled to score his first defensive touchdown, rushing for one last season. Like Ries, Hunter was Johnny on the spot.
“I was coming off the edge and I see the ball was on the ground,” Hunter said. “People were diving for it. The ball got loose and I got lucky and scooped and scored.”
Kicker Jacob Adam connected on fields of 32 and 44 yards, the last one coming as time expired in the opening half to give the Regals a 34-0 edge at the break.
The Regals couldn’t have felt too happy at halftime, because offensive leader Dixon was injured on the final drive of the half after amassing 146 yards and a touchdown.
Just four plays left before intermission, Dixon went down while trying to block a West Branch defender as quarterback Drew Cook scrambled out of the pocket. Dixon remained on the ground until medical staff tended to him and assisted him off the field.
He was in street clothes and on crutches after the game. Dixon said he was going to get x-rays after the game.
“Right after I hit him I felt a pop and a tear,” Dixon said. “I don’t know (how bad it is). We’ll see.”
Jake Brinkman and Michael Adam will be expected to carry the load, if Dixon misses time. Cook said they have capable replacements, but is remaining optimistic.
“Obviously, he was in a lot of pain and is a tough kid,” Cook said of Dixon. “He’s done some great things for us. He’s a great football player, so he’s a part of what we’re doing no matter what. Hopefully, it will be good news and he’ll be back ready to go.”
Brinkman rushed for 29 yards and two 1-yard TDs. Drew Cook added 33 yards on the ground and threw for just 27 yards.
West Branch kept fighting despite the big deficit. Lucas Lamont threw for 200 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown to Mason Hays, who finished with 61 receiving yards and one of Lamont’s two 2-point conversions. Luke Lenoch rushed for 26 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown. Michael Gould led the Bears with 37 yards on the ground.
West Branch was short-handed, missing four starters to injury including two gone for the year. They are inexperienced as well, but Bears Coach Butch Pedersen didn’t let that take away from the Regals performance.
“They kept working hard,” Pedersen said. “They’ve gotten better. One of the keys for this year for this team, being they are so young, is we have to continue to work hard and get better each and every game. I thought we got better in the second half.”
IC Regina 41, West Branch 16
AT AT IOWA CITY
|TEAM STATISTICS||West Branch||IC Regina|
|Rushes-yards||25 - 52||39 - 244|
|Comp-Att-Int||19 - 35 - 1||2 - 7 - 0|
|Fumbles-lost||2 - 2||1 - 1|
|Punts-average||5 - 24.5||3 - 39.0|
|Penalties-yards||6 - 55||2 - 20|
Rushing: West Branch – Michael Gould 12-37 , Luke Lenoch 4-26 , Tyler Donovan 3-3 , Lucas Lamont 3--9 , Team 3--5 IC Regina – Riley Dixon 13-146 , Drew Cook 9-33 , Jake Brinkman 6-29 , Eric Bracken 2-13 , Jacob Adam 1-13 , Michael Adam 1-14 , Michael Cooper 3-5 , Cliff Wagner 1-5 , Team 3--14
Passing: West Branch – Lamont 19-35-1-200 IC Regina – Cook 2-7-0-27
Receiving: West Branch – Mason Hays 6-67 , Lenoch 5-87 , Gould 3-8 , Donovan 2-25 , Sam Aspelmeier 2-17 , Casey Pence 1-2 IC Regina – Bryan Amelon 1-16 , Nick Phillips 1-11
SCORE BY QUARTERS
ICR - Justin Hunter 17 fumble return (Adam kick)
ICR - Dixon 40 run (Adam kick)
ICR - Adam Ries 22 fumble return (Adam kick)
ICR - FG Adam 32
ICR - Brinkman 1 run (Adam kick)
ICR - FG Adam 44
ICR - Brinkman 1 run (Adam kick)
WB - Hays 16 pass from Lamont (Hays pass from Lamont)
WB - Lenoch 5 run (Gould pass from Lamont)