By Richard C. Lewis
IOWA CITY – Regina’s Isaac Vollstedt may be the backup running back with a broken hand, but you wouldn’t have known it by the way he played on Friday night.
With the Regals’ rushing attack mostly stuck in neutral, Vollstedt rumbled for 169 second-half yards and four touchdowns to help Regina break open a close game and dispatch Sigourney-Keota, 50-28, in a Class 1A, District 4 game on Friday night at Regal Field.
Vollstedt got the call at halftime, after Sigourney-Keota (3-1, 1-1) had held Regina to 65 rushing yards in the first half. His 7-yard score with two minutes left in the third quarter pushed Regina to a 36-28 lead. He capped a game-clinching 91-yard drive by bowling over a defender at the goal line that expanded the Regals’ lead to 40-28 early in the fourth quarter.
“All week in practice, I was thinking, ‘Give me the ball, give me the ball,’ but they kept saying, ‘No, I don’t think we can trust you with a broken hand,’” Vollstedt, a junior, related. “Today at half, coaches came up to me and said, ‘We might need you in the second half,’ so I just got mentally prepared and did whatever I could.”
All he did was run over the Savage Cobras and well, surpassing his season total of 99 yards and one TD.
“You know, he’s a great back, obviously, and we weren’t sure how he was going to handle (the football) with his cast,” said Regina coach Marv Cook. “So, you know, we said, ‘It’s worth letting him go and see what he can do.’
“He’s physical. There’s no wasted motion,” Cook added. “He’s always downhill, he’s got a top-end gear, too, he’s faster than you think, and he’s just a real physical finisher when he’s running the ball.”
Regina quarterback Michael Conlon, starting his second game in place of the injured Tommy Rapp, completed 14 of 24 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns, both in the first half.
His second strike capped a frantic sequence just before halftime that staked Regina to a 22-14 lead.
With less than 40 seconds before the break, Conlon was injured on an incompletion. Enter Jacob Phillips, Regina’s starting tailback, to play quarterback.
On the next play, the junior promptly rifled a 9-yard completion to Noah Felderman to give Regina third and 1 on the Sigourney-Keota 26. Four plays later, Phillips created just enough space to make a fingertip grab of Conlon’s pass with 4.6 seconds left to give Regina the eight-point lead at halftime.
“I don’t know what (offensive coordinator) Ed Hinkel was thinking,” Cook said with a laugh about the pass-play call with Phillips. “Jake’s a great athlete, you know. You got to run with what the defense dictates a little bit, and we probably need to reevaluate what happened, now that I think about it.”
Crisis averted for Regina (3-1, 2-0). Or, so it seemed.
But in game that had nearly everything, Sigourney-Keota was not through. The Savage Cobras improbably closed to 29-28 in the third quarter when Avery Moore hauled in a pass and dashed 77 yards for a score. That came a possession after Moore bobbled the snap on a punt, then took off on a 70-yard scoring scamper to pull Sigourney-Keota to 29-22 earlier in the period.
Moore finished with four touchdowns and more than 400 all-purpose yards, including 236 rushing and 100 receiving.
But the big plays for Sigourney-Keota eventually ran out. And Regina’s bruising running attack, paced by Vollstedt, put the game away. Regina finished with 274 yards on the ground.
“I mean, I don’t like to juke very much,” Vollstedt said of his running style. “I’m more of a downhill runner instead of a shift guy, but downhill’s my favorite part of the game, mostly contact.”
Vollstedt said he expects to have the cast on for at least another month. He may consider keeping it on permanently.
“It’s kind of a nuisance, sitting there when you’re trying to run the ball,” he said, “but, no, it didn’t bother me at all.”
First downs 23 4
Rushes-Yards 46-274 33-259
Passing 212 118
Comp-Att-Int 15-25-1 5-10-2
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 4-20 7-60
Sigourney-Keota 6 8 14 0 – 28
Regina 7 15 14 14 – 50
S-K – Avery Moore 84 run (Kick blocked)
R – Jack Jensen 27 pass from Michael Conlon (Samuel Stein kick)
R – Conlon 1 run (Stein kick)
R – Defensive safety
S-K – Moore 54 run (Luke Greiner 2-point conversion)
R – Jacob Phillips 16 pass from Conlon (Kick failed)
R – Isaac Vollstedt 9 run (Stein kick)
S-K – Moore 70 run (Greiner 2-point conversion)
S-K – Moore 77 pass from Greiner (Greiner 2-point conversion)
R – Vollstedt 7 run (Stein kick)
R – Vollstedt 10 run (Kick failed)
R – Vollstedt 10 run (Vollstedt 2-point conversion)
Rushing – Regina: Isaac Vollstedt 17-169, Jacob Phillips 12-34, Michael Conlon 15-68, Trae Rogers 1-4, Brady Bigley 1- -1; Sigourney-Keota: Avery Moore 17-236, Luke Greiner 11-20, Carson Crawford 3-3, Tristan Sypherd 1-2, Will Magill 1- -2
Passing – Regina: Michael Conlon 14-24-2 203, Jacob Phillips 1-1-0 9. Sigourney-Keota: Luke Greiner 5-10-1 118.
Receiving – Regina: Jack Jensen 5-76, Jacob Phillips 7-89, Daniel Sullivan 1-21, Mason Simpson 1-17; Sigourney-Keota: Avery Moore 3-100, Carson Crawford 1-7, Jack Eakins 1-11