116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY - Talk about your ironic starts.
Iowa City Regina needed time to warm up the day temperatures peaked during a hot week.
After a slow start, the Class 1A Regals scorched West Liberty, 42-14, in a non-district game Friday night at Regina. The Regals, who have won three straight state titles including the 2012 1A championship, extended its win streak to 43 consecutive games.
Regina struggled early, failing to score on its first three possessions. West Liberty's defense was stout, forcing two punts and even stuffing a fourth-and-1 run attempt at the Regals 44.
Regina exploded for 21 points in the second and 28 in a little more than 14:30 stretch.
Regina expected this test from the Comets.
"They came out and gave us everything we wanted early on," Regina Coach Marv Cook said. "We made a couple big plays that helped us and got us some breathing room. It was everything I thought it would be."
The Regals capitalized on a mistake late in the first quarter. Adam Ries picked off West Liberty quarterback Brett Becker, giving the Regals the ball at the Comets' 46.
Regina rode running back Riley Dixon to its first touchdown. Dixon ran three straight times, including a 30-yard jaunt, and capped a three-play, 46-yard drive with a 10-yard score.
Getting on the board helped build momentum and confidence, battling nerves, anxiety and sluggish since they didn't have school Friday.
"After the first time we scored," Dixon said, "we knew we were going to score a lot more than one time."
Dixon was also on the receiving end of a Drew Cook 10-yard TD pass over the middle for a 14-0 lead before the halfway mark of the second quarter.
The Regals settled down, scoring on five straight possessions from the end of the first to the start of the third quarter. It was a matter of getting better with each snap and Marv Cook witnessed that take shape.
"Our kids are smart kids," Marv Cook said. "They made adjustments. They cleaned things up. We all understand we have to get better every snap and that's what we try to do."
Toward the end of the first half, Regina took advantage of another West Liberty error. The Comets drove to midfield, but coughed up the ball recovered by Regina at its own 49 with 1:07 remaining in the half.
Drew Cook, who also had a 39-yard TD run earlier in the second, needed just four plays to put the Regals up 28-0 with :16 left before halftime. He connected with Payton Raso for a 26-yard gain, hitting Jake Brinkman for 11 yards. After Cook's 8-yard run, he hit Nick Phillips on a 6-yard slant for the TD.
Drew Cook threw for 167 yards and two TDs, rushing for 48 yards. He is a first-year full-time starter and he took command of the offense, analyzing the defense and making the proper decisions.
"He does a great job leading the offense," Dixon said. "Once he started making that read, there was no holding Drew back."
Dixon added a 8-yard touchdown, giving the Regals a 35-0 lead and starting a continuous clock. He rushed 107 yards and scored three total touchdowns."It felt good," Dixon said about his performance. "I was a little tired I the first quarter, but the line did a good job."The Regals defense held West Liberty in check, shutting the Comets out for three quarters. West Liberty amassed more than 240 total yards, but most of that came against reserves after the game was well in hand.
"I love watching our defense," Marv Cook said. "I love the way they play. They're fundamentally sound. There's a couple things to clean up, but I thought they were solid for us."
Comets posted two touchdowns in the final quarter, bringing an end to the continuous clock. Becker scored on a 2-yard run, cutting the deficit to 35-7. Sam Weaver powered his way in from six yards out to make it 35-14 with 3:43 remaining.
Becker led the Comets with 61 rushing yards and 56 passing.
IC Regina 42, West Liberty 14
AT IOWA CITY
36 - 187
34 - 203
6 - 14 - 1
16 - 22 - 0
2 - 1
2 - 1
6 - 38.3
3 - 43.0
0 - 0
1 - 10
Rushing: West Liberty – Brett Becker 11-61 , Riley Anderson 4-30 , Trevor Schneider 6-24 , Carl Guardado 4-24 , Troy Heick 2-21 , Noel Palma 3-14 , Cooper Koenig 3-7 , Sam Weaver 2-7 , Team 1-(minus 1) IC Regina – Riley Dixon 14-107 , Drew Cook 6-48 , Michael Cooper 4-31 , Cliff Wagner 6-14 , Nathan Stenger 1-2 , Jake Brinkman 2-1 , Eric Bracken 1-0
Passing: West Liberty – Becker 6-14-1-56 IC Regina – Cook 16-21-0-167 , Stenger 0-1-0-0
Receiving: West Liberty – Palma 1-13 , Guardado 1-12 , Heick 1-12 , Tanner Mueller 1-11 , Anderson 1-7 , Elliot Henderson 1-1 IC Regina – Dixon 3-64 , Payton Raso 3-43 , Nick Phillips 5-21 , Brinkman 3-19 , Cale Lehman 1-11 , Bryan Amelon 1-9
SCORE BY QUARTERS
ICR - Dixon 10 run (Jacob Adam kick)
ICR - Dixon 10 pass from Cook (Adam kick)
ICR - Cook 39 run (Adam kick)
ICR - Phillips 6 pass from Cook (Adam kick)
ICR - Dixon 8 run (Adam kick)
WL - Becker 2 run (Raudel Fierro kick)
WL - Weaver 6 run (Fierro kick)
ICR - Cooper 15 run (Adam kick)