116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Iowa City Regina actually played an honest-to-goodness football game Friday night. A decent one, too.
That latter thing isn’t a surprise, of course. It’s Regina.
But that first thing, not a surprise, was really more a relief for the Regals.
“It has been really disappointing,” said running back Levi Daniel, after his 183 yards rushing and three touchdowns helped lift Class 1A’s third-ranked team past West Branch, 26-8, Friday night. “I feel really bad for the seniors. It’s the last year for them. But, I mean, it happens.”
Regina is 7-0, though this was just its fifth game. There was a 1-0 forfeit victory last week over Louisa-Muscatine, and a like win in early September against Mid-Prairie, both of whom were victims of COVID-19 outbreaks.
At this rate, Regina is going to have to make another of its customary deep playoff runs just to get in a full complement of games this fall.
“It’s tough, because as much as you try and recreate it in practice, you can’t,” said Regina Coach Jason Dumont. “I think you see that. Defensively, you can get away with it. But, offensively, you need those game reps to get the experience and to fix things. I think you saw some of that sloppiness tonight because we had only played four. Offense is always going to come along after defense, so we’re a little bit behind the curve on that right now.”
In many ways, this felt like more than one game. There was virtually zero rhythm to it, with penalties aplenty (18, nine on each team), tons of timeouts, misplays and miscommunication.
As Dumont indicated, sloppy. There also was a safety and a defensive touchdown, both for West Branch (5-2), which accounted for its points.
The very first play of this game was an airmailed shotgun snap from center for Regina, with the ensuing wild scramble for the football taking it backwards 33 yards and beyond the end zone, officials ruled, before a West Branch player recovered it. After Regina responded with an 80-yard touchdown drive, WB defensive lineman Drake Berry scooped up a fumble following a short Regals pass completion and ran it back 9 yards for a score and an 8-6 lead.
“The beginning was a little rough,” said Daniel. “I don’t think we were mentally prepared. But as the night went on, I think the boys woke up and decided let’s fight. We kind of went on from there.”
Outside of those two aforementioned plays, Regina dominated statistically and up front on both sides of the ball. The Regals outgained West Branch, 340-131, and, again, that came with a minus-33 on the first play.
Daniels got his yardage on 22 carries, with quarterback Jack Tierney adding 85 yards on 15 attempts. Tierney also threw for 96 yards and two TDs: one to Daniel on a 28-yard screen play and another from 44 yards, a beautiful deep ball over the middle to receiver Carson Jensen.
“Our defense played extremely well tonight, and our offensive line did a good job,” Dumont said. “Sometimes you’ve got to win a little ugly. That was tonight, for sure.”
This win clinched the District 5 championship for Regina. Also a playoff qualifier, West Branch would clinch the runner-up spot in the district next week should it beat Durant.
Coach Butch Pedersen said considering the youth of his team, that would be an accomplishment.
“Had you told me at the beginning of the year that we’d be in this position, I probably wouldn’t have believed it,” Pedersen said. “But we have really, really improved a lot. They’ve been ignored, quite frankly, by (everyone), but we’ve used that.”
IOWA CITY REGINA 26, WEST BRANCH 8
At Iowa City
West Branch 8 0 0 0- 8
Iowa City Regina 6 14 6 0-26
- WB-Safety, center snap out of end zone
- ICR-Levi Daniel 18 run (run failed)
- WB-Drake Berry 9 fumble return (attempt failed)
- ICR-Carson Jensen 44 pass from Jack Tierney (Andrew Deninger kick)
- ICR-Daniel 28 pass from Tierney (Deninger kick)
- ICR-Daniel 29 run (kick failed)
First Downs: West Branch 7, Iowa City Regina 17. Rushes-Yards: West Branch 30-79, Iowa City Regina 45-244. Passing Yards: West Branch 52, Iowa City Regina 96. Completions-Attempts-Interceptions: West Branch 7-18-1, Iowa City Regina 5-18-1. Total Yards: West Branch 131, Iowa City Regina 340. Penalties-Yards: West Branch 7-54, Iowa City Regina 10-95. Punts-Average: West Branch 6-36.8, Iowa City Regina 3-30.4. Fumbles-Lost: West Branch 2-1, Iowa City Regina 3-1.
Rushing - West Branch: Carver Boelk 11-42, Andy Henson 15-28, Wyatt Fiderlein 1-14, Peyton Miller 1-3. Iowa City Regina: Levi Daniel 22-183, Jack Tierney 15-85, Chris Walkel 2-10, Carson Jensen 1-6.
Passing - West Branch: Carver Boelk 7-17-1-52, Connor Rios 0-1-0-0, Iowa City Regina: Jack Tierney 5-17-1-96, Sam Aitchison 0-1-0-0.
Receiving - West Branch: Andy Henson 4-25, Holden Arnaman 16, Kinnick Boelk 2-6, Peyton Miller 1-3, Wyatt Fiederlein 1-2, Iowa City Regina: Levi Daniel 2-55, Carson Jensen 1-44, Sam Aitchison 2-(minus) 3.
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