Regina Survives Test from Maquoketa Valley, Returns to Semifinals
By K.J. Pilcher, Reporter
DELHI – Survive and advance.
Iowa City Regina realizes how crucial the former is and how fortunate it is to be able to do the latter.
The top-ranked Regals scored 21 unanswered points, including 11 in the final quarter to earn a 24-7 win over No. 4 Maquoketa Valley last night in an Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 1A state quarterfinal at Maquoketa Valley High School. Regina advances to face No. 8 North Fayette Valley (11-1) in a semifinal contest next Saturday at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.
"I think they're learning now that you have to cherish it," Regina Coach Marv Cook said. "The road to the Dome is a difficult thing. Fortunate enough tonight our kids made enough plays to move us one step closer (to a title)."
The Regals (12-0) won its 54th straight game, pulling within one game of the state's record of all-time longest win streak held by Waterloo East (1965-71), but more importantly they take are still contending for a fourth straight championship. Regina won the 1A title last season after two straight 2A crowns. The Wildcats (11-1) threatened the streak for three-and-a half quarters.
"It's a great feeling," Regina junior running back and linebacker Jake Brinkman said. "That was a great football team and to beat them ... that was a great win. We have to make sure we get focused this week."
Points were at a premium with the Regals making uncharacteristic errors, but mustered a little more thanks to a stingy defense. Regina hasn't allowed a second-half point this postseason.
"I'm glad to hear that," Cook said about the stat. "We needed that tonight."
The Regals received a little cushion with 6:59 remaining, leading 13-7. With good field position, they drove 58 yards to score their second touchdown of the game. Brinkman, who led Regina with 106 rushing yards, turned the right corner and dove for the pylon to finish a 12-yard TD.
"It was huge," said Brinkman, noting the defense's confidence at that point. "We did a nice job blocking. The outside edge was open, what we emphasize on that run, Payton Raso made a great block and I read it."
The defense allowed the Regals to breathe a little easier. Bryan Amelon, who forced an earlier key fumble, picked off Ben Dzaboff near midfield.
Regina iced the game with Jacob Adam's third field goal of the game. He connected from 30 yards to give Regina a 17-point lead with 3:11 left. He accounted for the Regals first-half edge, along with Drew Cook's 20-yard TD pass to Nick Phillips in the second quarter. Adam made field goals from 34 and 32 yards and making an extra-point attempt.
"Each game I think the game can come down to me," Adam said. "I mentally prepare myself before the game."
Adam is 10 of 12 in field goals this season and perfect in 62 extra-point attempts. He wasn't fazed by a facing a stiff wind for two field goals.
"I like the pressure," Adam said. "It makes me do my best. When the pressure is on I have to come through for the team. I'll be glad to do it."
The defense prevented the Wildcats from taking the lead on a key fourth-down stop in the third quarter. Regal quarterback Drew Cook fumbled on the Regina 19 and it was recovered by the Wildcats. Facing a 4th and 1 from the 10, the Regals stuff the inside run.
"I saw the quarterback and gave him a double-leg takedown," Regina linebacker Casey Beaver said. "Everybody else came with me and pushed him back so he didn't get that first down."
The only hiccup came on Maquoketa Valley's second possession. Ryan Parmely showed why he is the leading rusher in 1A, amassing more than 2,400 yards before the quarterfinal game. He burst up the middle, making two defenders miss and then drifted to the left sideline for a 90 run, grabbing a 7-3 lead with 4:04 to go in the first.
Cook said it was one of the best high-school runs he has seen.
"Parmely is a heck of an athlete," said Beaver. "He's an all-around crazy good athlete. He is awesome."
Parmely finished with 120 yards rushing and Dzaboff added 42 on the ground and 44 passing for the Wildcats, who reached the state quarterfinals for the second straight year.