Regina achieved it for the fourth straight season Friday thanks largely to performances from junior quarterback Drew Cook and its defense that bordered on perfect.
Cook was a perfect 13-of-13 passing for 177 yards and the Regina defense notched its fifth shutout of the season as Regina won its fourth straight state title with a 35-0 win over No. 4 Fort Dodge St. Edmond (13-1) in the Class 1A title game at the UNI-Dome.
“I don’t know if we were perfect,” Cook said. “But I don’t think we were too far from it.”
The Regals might not have been quite perfect Friday, but they have been over the past four seasons.
Friday’s win was the 56th straight for Regina (14-0), setting a new all-time state record for consecutive victories and capping a fourth straight unbeaten season with a state title.
Regina matched Solon as the only program with four consecutive titles and became the first team in state history to win four straight state titles with unbeaten seasons.
“It’s something that a high school kid dreams of,” senior tailback Riley Dixon said. “A lot of kids dream about making the playoffs, let alone making it to the Dome and then making it to the championship and winning a championship four times in a row. It’s truly amazing.”
Regina took any drama out of its fourth straight title early.
Regina scored on its first three possessions and activated the continuous clock early in the third quarter when Jake Brinkman went 68 yards for a touchdown that gave Regina a 35-0 lead.
The Regals substituted freely from that point on as Cook and most of the rest of the Regina starters retired before the fourth quarter.
Cook finished with 177 yards and a touchdown through the air, and also ran for 49 yards and a score.
“I’m extremely proud that I played on this team. There is no greater group of guys,” Cook said. “I’ve had so much fun playing with them, it’s been a great year, it has been a great experience to lead these guys to another championship.”
Brinkman ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns, and Dixon added 91 yards and a touchdown as Regina rolled up most of its 431 yards of total offense in the first three quarters.
“The last couple of weeks I felt offensively we were getting close but we hadn’t got there yet,” Regina coach Marv Cook said. “We talked that today we wanted to make this our best game and whatever the outcome is, it is. But we wanted to play our best game and I felt like we did that.”
The Regals took the opening kickoff and quickly went 69 yards in seven plays and took a 7-0 lead when Dixon scampered 33 yards for a touchdown.
Dixon ran through a huge hole, broke free from a tackler in the secondary and outraced a pair of St. Edmond defenders to the end zone to give Regina a lead just more than three minutes into the game.
“Our offensive line got to the second level and I just took off from there,” Dixon said. “Our offensive line played a great game.
St. Edmond answered with its best drive of the game.
The Gaels moved 77 yards to the Regina 10-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs after back-to-back incomplete passes.
“That was a huge motivation for us,” Brinkman said. “To stop them there was a huge momentum swing to our side and was a big part of the game.”
The rest was all Regina.
The Regals went 90 yards in 14 plays and 4:56 on its next possession and took a 14-0 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by Brinkman on the first play of the second quarter.
Following a three-and-out by St. Edmond, Regina put together a 64-yard, eight-play drive that was capped by a 5-yard run by Cook.
Cook had a hand in every yard on the drive, running for 37 yards and throwing for 32 as Regina upped its lead to 21-0 with 6:33 left in the first half.
“We had a really good game plan coming in. You can have a great game plan but it’s all about coming out and executing it and playing the way that you should,” Drew Cook said. “I felt like the whole team stepped up and made plays.”
Regina upped its lead to 28-0 when Cook connected with senior wide receiver Bryan Amelon for a 61-yard touchdown pass on a reverse with 2:22 left in the opening half.
Amelon was running wide open down the left sideline and Cook hit him in stride for Regina’s third touchdown in fewer than 10 minutes.
“It’s a unique play, the reverse bomb,” Drew Cook said. “It’s a play where if that corner jumps he’s going to be wide open, which he was and all I had to do was throw it to him.”
Cook was 10-for-10 passing for 142 yards in the first half alone, hitting five different receivers.
Regina had 314 total yards at halftime as the Regals averaged nearly 9 yards a play in the first two quarters.
“That’s just our receivers running the right routes and our offensive line protecting me,” Cook aid. “All I had to do is put the ball in their hands.”
After forcing St. Edmond to punt on the opening drive of the second half, the Regals started the running clock on Brinkman’s 68-yard touchdown run.
Regina ran for 229 yards Friday while averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
“Our offensive line came out and blocked their hearts out for me and Riley,” Brinkman said. “They just did an awesome job.”
TJ O’Tool ran for 119 yards to lead St. Edmond, while quarterback Matt Bocken had 105 yards passing, all going to junior receiver Landon Peed.
|F.D. St. Edmond||0||0||0||0||—||0|
R – Riley Dixon 33 run (Jacob Adam kick).
R – Jake Brinkman 4 run (Adam kick).
R – Drew Cook 5 run (Adam kick).
R – Bryan Amelon 61 pass from Cook (Adam kick).
R – Brinkman 68 run (Adam kick).
|FD St. Ed||Regina|
|Total Nets Yards||312||431|
RUSHING – Fort Dodge. St. Edmond: T.J. O’Tool 18-119, Michael Faiferlick 4-32, Jimmy Averill 2-31, Zach Gailey 1-15, Robert Flattery 2-13, Vinnie Harvey 7-13, Matt Bocken 3-0. Regina: Jake Brinkman 11-116, Riley Dixon 10-91, Drew Cook 8-49, Eric Bracken 2-9, Elliot Halsch 1-2, Michael Cooper 1-(-2), Nathan Stenger 3-(-10).
PASSING – Fort Dodge. St. Edmond: Matt Bocken 5-18-1 105, Robert Flattery 0-1-1 0. Regina: Drew Cook 13-13-0 177, Nathan Stenger 2-2-0 25.
RECEIVING – Fort Dodge. St. Edmond: Landon Peed 5-105. Regina: Bryan Amelon 3-88, Nick Phillips 4-40, Conner Brown 3-32, Payton Raso 2-15, Michael Cooper 1-10, Jared Geraets 1-9, Nile Vincent 1-6, Riley Dixon 1-2.