116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Considering the variables, to say 2021 has been a unique season for Iowa City Regina would be an understatement.
This year, the Regals entered the season in a new class (1A) with a first-year head coach, had two opponents forfeit and made a mid-season quarterback change.
Those are a lot of moving parts in a season following a Class A state championship.
But the result, to this point, has been exactly what the Regals were hoping for — an unblemished regular season.
“I’m very lucky to be able to step in with this group of kids and keep the consistency that we’ve had,” said Regina Coach Jason Dumont said. “So far.
“The one thing, myself and Ed (Hinkel) were here 14 years with Marv (Cook) and now this is our 15th year. And Marv will be the first one to tell you ‘we never played one down’ — it’s been the kids. So we’ve just tried to keep that consistency with the kids. The system hasn’t changed.”
The Regals will head to the postseason as district champions with an 8-0 record (5-0 in 1A District 5 play) after Friday’s 34-16 win at home on Senior Night against Durant (2-6, 2-3).
“Heading into the playoffs undefeated, it’s a great feeling,” said Regina quarterback Jack Tierney.
Tierney completed 10 of 18 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed the ball 13 times for 100 yards and a score.
With 6:11 left in the first quarter, Tierney hit Sam Aitchison for a 33-yard touchdown, capping an opening eight-play, 77-yard drive.
Steven Liu picked off Durant quarterback Charlie Huesmann at Regina’s 10 with 9:42 to go in the second. Liu’s interception thwarted a nice drive the Wildcats had going that was aided by a gutsy fourth-and-1 conversion on a fake punt run attempt by Nolan DeLong.
Just 3:34 after Liu’s pick, Tierney capped another eight-play drive, this time from 90 yards out, with a 5-yard TD run.
The Regals added three points just before intermission as Andrew Deninger hit a 21-yard field goal with just five seconds left on the clock. Deninger’s kick gave Regina a 17-0 lead at the half.
Deninger then hit another field goal to begin the second half, again from 21 yards out.
But Durant stayed in the game, led by play-making junior DeLong.
With 4:20 to go in the third, Huesmann pitched the ball to DeLong, who threw a rope to Ethan Gast for a 76-yard touchdown.
Following a 5-yard TD pass from Tierney to Jack Clark, DeLong again answered, finding paydirt from a yard out to make it a 27-16 game.
DeLong rushed 30 times for 147 yards and touchdown. He also was the leading passer for Durant with his 76-yard TD.
“He’s a Division-I athlete,” Dumont said. “I don’t know where he’ll fall, on the offensive side or the defensive side, but he’s the real deal. You can see that on film and he proved it tonight.”
Ultimately, the Regals proved to be too much as Levi Daniel added an insurance touchdown with 2:10 left to make it a final at 34-16.
Daniel carried the ball 24 times for 156 yards.
“Our goal is obviously to win a state title,” Tierney said. “To go back-to-back, that’d be great. And I think we have the tools to do it.”