Your Prep Sports
CEDAR FALLS – Playing in the Class A championship game provided a platform for an explosive Regina offense to shine on the state’s biggest stage.
The result was a record setting offensive performance for the Regals that include Class A championship game records in total yards and points and individual records for most receiving yards and rushing touchdowns.
Just as it has most of the season the Regina offense was center stage in the Regals’ 52-28 win over top-ranked Grundy Center.
However, just as it so often did during its string of six consecutive state titles from 2010 to 2015 it was the Regina defense that set the tone on Thursday.
“The defense deserves a ton of credit,” Regina senior quarterback Ashton Cook said. “Those guys were incredible.”
Grundy Center won the kickoff and elected to receive and Regina was up to the challenge early, forcing the Spartans to go three-and-out on each of their first two possessions.
A Grundy Center offense that entered averaging 40 points and 378 total yards per game failed to earn a first down on four of its first five possessions on Thursday.
The Spartans had a 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that tied the score at 7-7 with :45 seconds left in the first quarter but managed just 27 total yards on five other first-half possessions.
Grundy Center had just 87 total yards at the half and averaged 3.2 yards per offensive snap as Regina built an insurmountable 31-7 halftime lead.
“I don’t know how many yards we gave up before they got some late but I think at halftime they had 27 rushing yards,” Cook said. “That is amazing against a team that can run the ball like that.”
Grundy Center entered averaging 296 rushing yards per game and 420 rush yards in a semifinal win over Council Bluffs St. Albert.
Regina held the Spartans to a season-low 36 rushing yards on 22 carries, including just 17 rushing yards on 14 carries in the first half.
“We just wanted to stop their run game that was the biggest thing that we wanted to do and just put in on our secondary to lock down their receivers,” Regina senior Alec Wick said. “I busted a couple of coverages which led to big plays for them but we rallied to the football and made plays.”
Regina forced a pair of turnovers against a Grundy Center team that had turned the ball over just three times in its last 10 games.
Senior Levi Quinlan picked off a pass and Jack Tierney recovered a fumble forced on Theo Kolie on a second-quarter sack.
“If we can keep scoring and keep stopping them eventually they are going to give up,” Kolie said. “Our defense was able to keep stopping them and we turned those into touchdowns.”
Back on Top: The title was the eighth in program history and first for Regina since 2015.
The 24-point margin of victory was the second most ever for Regina in a state title game and the most lopsided title game win for the Regals since defeating Fort Dodge St. Edmond 35-0 in the Class 1A title game in 2013.
With its latest state title Regina has won seven titles in the past 11 seasons across three different classes.
Regina won 2A titles in 2010 and 2011, added four consecutive 1A titles from 2012-2015 before winning the Class A title on Thursday.
The Incredible Alec Wick: With nine receptions for a Class A title game record 226 yards Alec Wick ended his career the top pass catcher in state history.
Wick finished with 242 career receptions surpassing the state record for career receptions held by former West High standout Oliver Martin.
Wick also finished 3,655 receiving yards (third most all-time) and his 38 career touchdowns are tied for sixth in state history.
As good as a receiver as Wick has been his versatile championship game performance is a perfect illustration of what he has meant to the Regina program.
Wick also had a 42-yard run in the win, returned a punt for 9 yards and tied for the team lead with five tackles.
He didn’t miss a kick on Thursday, connecting on all six extra points and a 22-yard field goal, and punted twice for an average of 44 yards.
Defensive player of the week: Regina controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball on Thursday and one of the biggest reasons why was the play of junior Josh Gaffey.
Gaffey was especially active on defense where he had four tackle, including 1.5 for loss and half a sack and also broke up a pass.
Best of the rest: Junior safety Sam Aitchison had a team-high five tackles, all solo stops, in the championship game win over Grundy Center.
Senior defensive back Levi Quinlan had 3.5 tackles, including three solos and an interception in a 52-28 win over Grundy Center.
Junior defensive tackle Aidan Udell had four tackles including half a sack in the win over Grundy Center.
Offensive player of the week: Everyone in a Regina uniform seemed to be locked in on offense but senior running back Theo Kolie finished drives like no other player in a Class A title game.
Kolie rushed for 124 yards on 29 carries and scored five touchdowns, the most ever in a Class A championship game.
Best of the rest: Senior quarterback Ashton Cook was incredible in his final prep game completing 17-of-24 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 42 yards.
Senior receiver Alec Wick hauled in nine passes for a Class A title game record 226 yards including an 88-yard touchdown grab and also had a 42-yard run.
Junior Carson Jensen caught a 12-yard touchdown pass in the 52-28 win over Grundy Center.