Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – When losses come as infrequently as they have at Regina over the past six years any setback is bound to stick out.
No loss has stuck with current members of the Regina squad like last year’s 38-35 heartbreaker to Cedar Rapids Xavier.
The Saints scored 31 unanswered second-half points a season ago, capping an amazing comeback with a 35-yard field goal as time expired.
“That one still hurts,” Regina senior lineman Reagan Ries said. “We started out so well, we ran for almost 300 yards in the first half and we couldn’t finish the game.”
Regina gets a shot at redemption against Xavier on Friday when the perennial powers and newly formed rivals meet in the season opener for both teams at 7 p.m. at Saints Field in Cedar Rapids.
“This is what we have been working for all summer,” Regina senior Jack Jensen said. “We’ve been prepping for them all week but we’ve been thinking about this game for a lot longer than that.”
Regina shook off its loss to the Saints last season to finish 13-1 and claim a sixth consecutive state title.
The Regals have won 82 of 84 games during their title streak.
Last year’s loss to Xavier accounts for half of Regina’s loss total the past six seasons.
Seeing a 35-7 halftime lead slip away makes last year’s loss stand out even more.
“We’ve had this one marked for a long time,” Ries said. “All summer has been about getting ready for these guys.”
Regina will certainly need to be ready on Friday.
Xavier is coming off a 9-1 season in which it advanced to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.
The Saints don’t have a state title during the last six years but have put together their own impressive run during that stretch.
Xavier is 55-16 over the past six seasons, a stretch that includes back-to-back 4A runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2013.
“I have just a great amount of respect for them and the way that they run their program,” Regina coach Marv Cook said. “As a player that is what you want. You want to play in those types of environments so I’m excited for our kids.”
The first two meeting between the two Eastern Iowa power programs have been instant classics.
Regina scored two touchdowns in the final nine minutes to earn a 21-7 win in the first meeting between the two teams in 2014.
Last year Xavier scored 17 fourth-quarter points to rally for the 38-35 win.
“That’s what high school football is all about,” Cook said of last year’s game. “Those kind of games.”
Friday figures to be another great one between the two teams.
Xavier returns two of the players that did the most damage against Regina last year in senior quarterback Bryce Schulte and senior running back Maliki Wilson.
Wilson ran for 1,273 yards last season, 149 of which came against Regina.
Schulte returns after passing for 1,516 yards and 20 touchdowns last season.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Schulte ran for 62 yards and three scores against the Regals last year.
“They are going to be disciplined they are going to run to the football they are going to be tough, they are going to play behind their pads and they are going to be smart so you have to match that,” Cook said. “You have to play clean football for 48 minutes or whatever it takes and then you have to match the physical play that they bring. It’s a great way to start the high school football season.”