116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — In a hard-hitting matchup between a pair of evenly-matched lines, the big play made the difference.
Regina used a few well-placed chunk plays to seize momentum, and ultimately, the game. The Regals knocked off Mid-Prairie, 35-7, Friday night at Regina.
The Golden Hawks (2-1) entered the night after a pair of wins over West Burlington/Notre Dame and Sigourney-Keota. They left little doubt as to what the offensive game plan would be. Feed the ball to big tailback Braden Hartley, who came into the game with 417 rushing yards.
Hartley got his yards, but the Regals (2-1) took away the big run. A pair of 11-yard runs was as much as they allowed him to get loose. Struggling to throw the ball, and unable to break off big gains on the ground, the Golden Hawks drives ultimately stalled out.
“A lot of it’s trying to play good, fundamental football,” Regina Coach Jason Dumont said. “You’ve gotta be careful. You can’t blitz a team like that a whole heck of a lot. Every safety had to make a couple of plays tonight when we were blitzing and stop a touchdown.”
The Golden Hawks rushed for 159 yards, but averaged just 3.7 yards per carry.
“Our coaches did a good job of putting our linebackers and defensive ends in the right position to make plays and our defensive front is just tremendous,” Regina defensive back Jackson Naeve said.
The Regals used a balanced rushing attack to keep Mid-Prairie honest. With 6:39 left in the first quarter, Gentry Dumont dropped back to pass. With Cobi Hershberger coming free on a blitz, Dumont unleashed a ball as he got drilled, hitting Naeve in stride for a 40-yard touchdown.
“It was a perfect throw,” Naeve said. “That just adds to his character on how he does anything for his team where he takes big hits.”
In the second quarter, Cain Brown picked off Dumont to set Mid-Prairie up at their own 42. A holding penalty and a pair of incomplete passes forced a three-and-out.
On the ensuing possession, Dumont hit Steven Liu with a short pass along the sideline. Liu stiff-armed his defender and found himself in space, staying inbounds as he raced for a 39-yard score and a 14-0 Regina lead.
“I was looking back for the guy,” Liu said. “I turned around and he wasn’t there.”
Taking over at their own 20, the Golden Hawks sustained their longest drive of the night. Moving 74 yards and converting a pair of fourth downs, Mid-Prairie faced a fourth-and-1 at the Regina 6 with 26 seconds left in the half.
The Golden Hawks opted for a fade into the end zone, which was picked off by Naeve.
Jack Tierney lined up in the wildcat for the Regals’ first possession of the second half. Beating an all-out blitz, Tierney took off up the middle, untouched, for a 38-yard score.
The growing deficit took the Golden Hawks out of their comfort zone offensively, but Mid-Prairie found the scoreboard late in the third quarter.
Facing their first punt, Regina punter Evan Lacey fell on a fumbled snap at his own 10. Hartley punched it in from the 3.
The Regals quickly regained their three-score advantage. Dumont connected with Tierney for 26 yards down to the Golden Hawks 3. Back in the wildcat, Tierney threw to Naeve for the touchdown and a 28-7 lead.