IOWA CITY – Solon made the big mistakes at all the wrong times. Iowa City Regina jumped on the opportunity.
The Class 1A top-ranked Regals scored 21 points off four turnovers in a 31-7 win over 3A No. 8 Solon in non-district high school football game last night at Regina Field. The Spartans didn't score until the closing seconds of the fourth quarter.
The Regals (2-0) now have a 30-game winning streak, including three straight against Solon. The first win in that stretch for the Regals ended Solon's 42-game winning streak.
Regina quarterback Mark Ward connected with Alex Balke for three touchdowns – a 10-yard slant in the second quarter, a 14-yard throw and run in the second and a 49-yard pass in the third quarter after another short pass.
Riley Dixon rushed for 150 yards, including 15 carries for 130 yards in the first half.
Solon (1-1) trailed 10-0 late in the first half when the Spartans put together their first legitimate drive of the game.
The Spartans reached Regina's 16-yard line after starting at their own 30, but quarterback Rory Siddell's fade pass to the end zone was intercepted by Matt Streb for a touchback with 1:51 left in the second quarter.
The Regals made quick work after a substitution infraction, reaching Solon territory on two plays with a 21-yard run by Mike Donovan and a 15-yard pass interference penalty. Dixon added runs of 37 and 2 yards, and then Ward connected with Alex Balke on a 10-yard slant for a touchdown.
In the flash of 54 seconds, Solon went from cutting the lead to one possession to trailing 16-0.
Solon thought it had a shot to end Regina's run. There was even a sign this week on a barn south of town along Highway 1 that read "Solon Football Clinic 12 Mi So," with an arrow pointing towards Iowa City.
But the Spartans learned the real lesson: Turnovers and mistakes against good teams will cost you.
The interception at the end of the first half was huge.
Earlier in the second quarter, Solon shanked a 13-yard punt that only traveled to its own 41-yard line. Regina turned that into a short drive and a 37-yard field goal from Nick Dolezal.
Ward intercepted a Sieddell pass in the third quarter. Two plays later Ward and Balke hooked up for a touchdown.
Solon was driving inside Regina's 10-yard line at the start of the fourth quarter when a fumbled snap ended the pursuit. The Regals went 92 yards in just four plays, making it 31-0 with 9:46 remaining.
Regina produced a 66-yard scoring drive to open the game – all but 10 yards on the ground. Ward finished the final 37 yards on the ground, including an 11-yard TD scamper.
Regina starts play in Class 1A District 6 next week at West Branch. Solon hosts Mount Pleasant next week in a non-district game.