WILTON – Iowa City Regina closed the same way it opened – with big runs.
The Regals managed quite few more in between.
The top-ranked Regals amassed more than 400 yards on the ground, including 281 from senior running back Riley Dixon, dropping No. 4 Wilton, 45-27, in Class 1A District 6 contest Friday night at Wilton High School. The win makes 49 straight victories for the Regals.
Regina (7-0, 5-0) clinched a playoff spot and moved within a win of a district title.
“I’m very, very pleased,” Cook said. “Offensively, I thought we ran the ball very well.”
Cook also said, “Our team qualified for the playoffs tonight so obviously that’s the first and foremost thing we are trying to accomplish, but a great district win against a great football team.”
Offensive linemen Mike Sehl, Phil Arendt, Adam Demory, Julian Martinez and Matt McBeth created big running lanes for Dixon, producing 15 rushes of 10 yards or more and averaging 9.4 yards per carry. The mesh strong blocks with good running instincts.
“It’s a combination,” Cook said. “You can’t have one without the other. You can have someone get six yards or Riley gets 15, 20 or 35.”
Dixon was in his first full game back since missing a few games to an ankle injury suffered Week 3.
“It’s unbelievable running behind them all night,” Dixon said. “It was like making one cut and going and I was at the second level. It was nice to make some things happen. It was good to be back.”
It was apparent on the opening drive when Dixon rushed for 22 yards on the opening drive and then capped a three-play drive with a 34-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
“I think that set the tempo,” said Dixon, who iced the game with a 41-yard gain in the fourth quarter.
Regina was in for quite a battle from a Wilton squad fueled by talented skill players, including quarterback Tyler Hetzler, who threw for more than 250 yards and rushed for 71.
It was Koy Snider on a 5-yard TD run that tied the game at 7-7 with 2:53 in the first.
The Regals wrestled away momentum immediately thanks a big play of another type. Sophomore Nick Phillips provided one of the key turnaround moments of the game. He fielded the following kickoff at the 9-yard line and sliced through the middle of the field, dashing 91 yards to give the Regals a lead again.
“I’m always looking to try to break one,” Phillips said. “It’s always a good team booster.”
Phillips said it was his first week back returning kicks and assistant Jake Reisen gave him some good advice.
“He told me to make one cut and get through the hole,” Phillips said. “I got it, made one cut and blockers made a huge hole. Just after that speed into the end zone.”
After Jacob Adam connected on a 32-yard field goal to increase the lead to 17-7, Phillips found the end zone again. He earned inside position on a slant pass from Drew Cook for a 7-yard score to make it 24-7 at the half.
“The kick return was huge,” Cook said. “He’s a great receiver for us as well.
“Those are the kind of things we expect. He is a sophomore, but didn’t play like it.”
Regina went to the run again in the second to build a 38-7 lead. Dixon had touchdown runs of 1 and 39 yards in the third quarter.
“He’s great at being real shifty,” Cook said about Dixon. “He gets to the next level and puts pressure on the safety.”
Wilton (6-1, 4-1) battled back, scoring three touchdowns on three Hetzler passes in an impressive 20-point fourth quarter. Hetzler hit Todd Carter for a 56-yard bomb less than a minute into the fourth, cutting Regina’s lead to 38-13. On the next possession, Hetzler capped a six-play, 50-yard drive with a 3-yard TD pass to Troyal Harris.
Hetzler hit Kaleb Schmidt for a 12-yard touchdown in the final minute to cap the scoring.
“That’s what coach’s main thing was at halftime,” Hetzler said about Wilton Coach Lance Pedersen’s message at the break. “We need to finish. Even if it (the deficit) does get even bigger we still need to finish, work hard, because we can still always improve.”
The first-half hole was just too deep to climb of it. The Beavers proved they have the firepower to succeed against the Regals with their late push. They will be confident if they cross paths in the playoffs.
“It showed in the second half we can score on these guys,” Hetzler said. “It took awhile, but we can score on these guys. We know we can compete with them even more.”
Snider finished with 135 total yards, including 66 on the ground. Schmidt had 64 receiving yards on six catches. The Regals had a tough chore trying to contain the offensive attack late, resulting in 427 yards of total offense.
“(We) were challenged tonight,” Cook said. “(We) kept answering the bell.”
IC Regina 45, Wilton 27
|TEAM STATISTICS||IC Regina||Wilton|
|Rushes-yards||44 - 415||38 - 170|
|Comp-Att-Int||13 - 17 - 0||15 - 31 - 0|
|Fumbles-lost||2 - 2||2 - 1|
|Punts-average||2 - 30.0||4 - 38.3|
|Penalties-yards||6 - 55||2 - 10|
Rushing: IC Regina – Riley Dixon 22-281 , Drew Cook 15-77 , Jake Brinkman 6-43 , Michael Adam 1-14 Wilton – Tyler Hetzler 16-71 , Koy Snider 17-66 , Logan Mays 4-41 , Team 1--8
Passing: IC Regina – Cook 13-17-0-182 Wilton – Hetzler 15-31-0-257
Receiving: IC Regina – Dixon 3-46 , Nick Phillips 3-37 , Bryan Amelon 3-35 , Payton Raso 2-55 , Conner Brown 1-6 , Brinkman 1-3 Wilton – Kaleb Schmidt 6-64 , Snider 4-69 , Javin Drake 2-30 , Todd Carter 1-56 , Troyal Harris 1-3
SCORE BY QUARTERS
ICR - Dixon 34 run (Jacob Adam kick)
WIL - Snider 5 run (kick good)
ICR - Phillips 91 kickoff return (J. Adam kick)
ICR - FG J. Adam 32
ICR - Phillips 7 pass from Cook (J. Adam kick)
ICR - Dixon 1 run (J. Adam kick)
ICR - Dixon 39 run (J. Adam kick)
WIL - Carter 56 pass from Hetzler (kick failed)
WIL - Harris 3 pass from Hetzler (Schmidt pass from Hetzler)
ICR - Amelon 19 pass from Cook (J. Adam kick)
WIL - Schmidt 12 pass from Hetzler (pass failed)