Prep Football

No. 2 Cedar Rapids Xavier opens football season with new faces, similar result

Saints roll to 35-0 win over Iowa City Regina on new turf

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Xavier opened a new football season with an impressive new field and some new starters.

Different circumstances, but same results.

With a number of fresh faces in the starting lineup and debuting a new turf surface, the Class 3A second-ranked Saints didn’t miss a step in a 35-0 victory over Iowa City Regina on Friday night at Saints Field, winning their 27th straight game.

Senior quarterback Tyler Dupont helped lead the way, having the unenviable job of replacing all-stater Quinn Schulte and becoming the first Xavier starter not to share that surname since 2013. He stepped in admirably, contributing to the game’s first three touchdowns.

“I’m sure everyone was sitting there and thinking, ‘Quinn Schulte’s gone, so what can Tyler Dupont do?’” Xavier Coach Duane Schulte said. “Tyler demonstrated that he’s not too bad.”

Dupont threw for 126 yards, completing 5 of 8 passes. He also added 55 yards on the ground. Schulte said his athleticism allows him to be a dual threat.

“He’s a competitor,” said Schulte, noting Dupont is accomplished in track and baseball.

“I think that was part of his skill set, being out for multiple sports and putting it all on display tonight. He’s practiced his craft, too. He works hard in practice.”

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Dupont didn’t feel any pressure, replacing the signal caller that led Xavier to two straight state titles.

“You can’t do anything about the years past,” Dupont said. “It’s about doing our job and getting in there, putting our nose to the grindstone, getting in the weight room all summer and practicing hard every day.”

Dupont put the Saints on the board with a 5-yard TD run, capping a three-play, 67-yard drive on their second possession.

Junior running back Jack Lux provided a boost to set up the first score. He broke a 57-yard run on the first play to set up first-and-goal from the 10. He added a 5-yard run right before Dupont’s first of two TD runs.

Lux amassed 117 yards on just 11 carries. He is the third brother in the family Schulte has coached.

“They have lots of energy,” Schulte said. “He brought some at the right time. We kind of stalled a little bit and he helped pop the big one and got some great blocks on that play.”

Dupont went to the air for the next score. After taking over in Regina territory and suffering a penalty to start the drive, Dupont hit wideout Tyler Wilken for a 49-yard strike, giving the Saints a 14-0 lead with 10:13 in the second quarter.

Dupont hit Wilken three times for 90 yards.

“I thought it was going to be a little bit far for him,” Dupont said. “It was a great catch by him and a great job by the offensive line to protect. It was a good play overall.”

Xavier broke things open in the final three minutes of the first half. Regina threatened with a drive deep into Saints territory. An 11-play drive to the 15 ended with a high snap that Xavier recovered at its own 27.

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Three plays later, Dupont rushed off left tackle for a 9-yard TD. The score was set up with a 36-yard pass to Wilken and a 23-yard run by Dupont.

With momentum on its side and Regina looking to get on the board before the break, Jakob Forslund picked off Ashton Cook and returned it for a 38-yard TD and a 28-0 lead at halftime.

“I knew it was coming,” Forslund said. “I just jumped it and I took it to the house form there.”

Xavier notched its final two TDs of the half in a 48-second span.

“Our defense was bending but not breaking,” Schulte said. “To get those turnovers really helped us get back in sync.”

Xavier added a Nick Lemke 1-yard TD run to force a running clock in the third.

The Saints’ all-state lineman and University of Iowa recruit Josh Volk was on the sideline and dressed but did not play. He jogged off the field after the game and has been cleared to practice.

“He’s day to day,” Schulte said.

Cook led Regina, throwing for 168 yards. He teamed with Alec Wick, who caught eight passes for 69 yards. The Regals only managed 57 on the ground.

Regina was able to move the ball at times. The Regals drove into Xavier territory four times, but weren’t able to finish with points.

“Our kids came out and competed early,” Regina Coach Marv Cook said. “Xavier is really talented and deep.

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“Xavier is so well coached and play so disciplined. A lot of times you think you have a great call and they seem like they have the play snuffed out.”

Cook said his players embraced the Week 1 challenge. This was a good learning experience and a chance to identify what needs improved throughout the season.

“This is going to help make us better in Week 7, 8, 9 and hopefully into Week 10, 11, 12 and 13,” Cook said. “We’ll keep trying to get better.”

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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