Regina senior Mason Simpson
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
When the curtain raised on the prep football season last week Solon and Regina both found themselves on center stage
The season’s opening act brought matchups against rivals ranked in the top-three of their respective classes for both programs.
Week two brings the encore that everyone has been waiting for.
Class 1A top-ranked Regina (0-1) hosts Solon (1-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the annual meeting of two powerhouse programs that has become one of the best rivalries in Iowa.
“This is a game that we look forward to every year, it’s a game you want to play in growing up,” Solon senior Trevor Nelson said. “It’s just two great programs playing each other.”
Few rivalries have been more competitive over the past decade.
Even fewer have featured two more successful programs than the showdown between Johnson County neighbors.
The two perennial powers have combined for a 228-27 record and 10 state titles over the past 10 seasons.
“There are those similarities in our programs and that’s part of why we always love playing Solon,” Regina senior Mason Simpson said. “They are a great program and that is what makes it a great rivalry between us.”
The series has been nearly even over the past decade.
The teams have split the last two meets with Solon winning 29-28 in 2014 and Regina earning a 21-13 victory in last year’s season opener.
Regina has won five of the last nine meetings dating back to 2008 including three straight home games in the series.
Solon senior Trevor Nelson
“To me it’s been one of the greatest rivalries across the state,” Regina coach Marv Cook said. “For the last 10 years it has really been competitive, it’s probably about 50-50 on who has won.”
Included in the last eight meetings are historic, streak-snapping wins for both sides.
Regina ended Solon’s 42-game winning streak with a 21-15 win at Solon in 2010.
The Spartans returned the favor four years later snapping Regina’s state-best 56-game run with a 29-28 overtime win in the 2014 season opener.
Over the last eight years the winner of the regular season meeting between the two teams has gone on to win a state title seven times.
Regina enters this season riding a six-year state title streak while Solon won four straight state titles from 2007 to 2010.
In 2010 both teams won titles as Solon won in 3A and Regina won in 2A.
“I know when we were playing them in 2007 and 2008 they were just incredible and the pace and pad level and physicality with which they played was amazing and so it forced us to pick up our game and our practice habits,” Cook said. “They helped us become the team we are in my opinion.”
The success between the two program has been similar and has come from similar styles.
“They are going to be physical, they are going to be tough, they are going to be well coached, they are going to be fundamentally sound,” Solon coach Kevin Miller said. “That’s what good football teams do.”