Prep Football: In Classic Game, Regina Denies West Branch
By Michael Bonner, Reporter
WEST BRANCH -- As the ball fell to the ground, so did Cole Cook. The West Branch quarterback's legs couldn't support him any longer. When he fell to his knees, they couldn't do the job either. His facemask dug into the ground has he buried his face in the grass at The Little Rose Bowl.
As the Iowa City Regina defense bolted to their sideline -- hands waiving above their head -- Cook had nothing to be ashamed of. Neither team did in a 15-13 instant classic where Regina came out on top.
When Cook finally rose to his feet and walked to the sideline with six second remaining in the game, he arrived to the sound of applause from the West Branch crowd. In a game that was six seconds from being final, both side proudly cheered for their teams, as Regina and West Branch put on a show that soon won't be forgotten.
The play of the night came with less than 20 seconds left. With his team down 15-7, Cook roamed in the pocket, back-pedaled, back pedaled some more, then with three Regal defenders draped on his back, he heaved a pass toward the endzone. Senior Austin Hills came down with the prayer, igniting a celebration similar to that of Regina's seconds later.
The score would have put the Bears up, if it hadn't been for some fourth quarter heroics by Regina. Running back Riley Dixon, after having rushed for 38 yards in the first half, amassed 81 in the second half. He totaled 65 in the fourth quarter alone. None were important than the 21 that came during the Regals' second scoring drive. He capped off the drive with a five yard touchdown, to give his team an eight point advantage.
At that point, Regina had scored 15 unanswered. West Branch went into half up 7-0, but could have been up a lot more. They held the Regals to 48 total yards. Meanwhile, the Bears totaled nearly 200, yet they only had a seven point advantage.
After the first possession for the Regals in the second half, that advantage was gone. Regina marched down the field for 70 yards and after an offsides penalty on the PAT, decided to go for two. The Regals converted and despite getting pushed around in the first half, they held a one-point lead.
They never let it go and their streak is now up to 31 consecutive wins.
As for West Branch, its offense stalled in the second half. Cade Jones struggled to find any room rushing. After 80 yards in the first half, the running back had just nine yards on four carries in the second half.
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