Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – As much as possible Rick Larew likes to keep things simple.
From his patented gauntlet of a schedule to his style of play Larew prefers to stick to the script.
“I’m not a complicated guy,” the long-time Regina head coach said with a wry smile on Tuesday.
The same plan that the Larew-led Regals have followed to eight state titles seems to be coming together at the right time again this spring.
Class 1A No. 12 Regina jumped to a 2-0 halftime lead and scored twice in the final 14:03 on its way to a 4-1 win over top-ranked and previously unbeaten Mid-Prairie (9-1) on Tuesday at a soggy Regal Field.
“I told (our team) this is the second season now, there are 17 days left before district play and with our record the likelihood that we will have home field advantage is very low so we have to get better every day,” Larew said. “I said before the game I don’t care if we win or lose but I do care of we are better an hour and a half from now and I do think we are getting better.”
For years Larew has used the same formula to turn Regina into one of the most successful programs in the state.
The Regals face a gauntlet of a regular season schedule filled with larger schools and ranked opponents, take losses early in the season only to improve and take off as the postseason approaches.
This season that same formular appears to be poised to pay dividends late.
Regina (7-6) was outscored 15-0 during an 0-3 start to the season with all three losses to 2A or 3A opponents.
Since the 0-3 start the Regals have seven of 10 with a pair of wins over ranked 1A opponents.
“Our schedule is pretty tough,” Regina sophomore Kaleab Wendy said. “I like it because those tough games expose what we need to work on and that helps.”
Regina took the early losses and improved.
On Tuesday the Regals showed they are ready to put it together.
Sophomore Quinn Warren scored twice and Emilian Herrera-Sinnwell and Evan Lacina each scored as Regina improved to 6-2 on the season against 1A competition.
“It was hard this year we really got slapped around, those teams are so good that they just punished us for our mistakes,” Larew said. “We got slapped around quite a bit and I was a little concerned about that but we seem to be coming back right now.”
Warren gave Regina an early lead when he scored on a free kick from just outside the box in the 17th minute.
The first goal of the season for Warren gave Regina an early boost.
“They set up really weird,” Warren said of the defensive alignment on the free kick. “I have always focused on the wall being there and the goalie being on the opposite side of the wall. Once I saw that I just hit it soft to that one side.”
Herrera-Sinnwell made it 2-0 Regina when he put away a loose ball from the left side of the box with 9:01 left in the opening half.
Mid-Prairie cut into the lead when Tucker Miller scored on a free kick with 22:42 left but Regina had the answer.
Lacina scored on a penalty kick after a foul inside the box to make it 3-1 Regals with 14:03 left.
Warren put the match out of reach with his second goal off of free kicks with 6:28 remaining.
“I practice them every day after practice, penalties and free kicks,” Warren said. “I just take two deep breaths and was able to score on one of the best teams we’ve played so far. It’s tough to do but I try to focus on it after every practice.”