Riley Dixon and the other seniors on the Regina football team will have plenty to reminisce about after their high school careers are over, including what they accomplished Friday.
The Regals, ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, extended their winning streak to 44 games by pounding Class 3A eighth-ranked Solon 38-0 at Solon.
Regina also extended its winning streak over Solon to four games, meaning the Regina seniors will finish their careers undefeated against their long-time nemesis.
“It’s truly unbelievable,” said Dixon, who rushed for 169 yards, including 134 yards on two carries in the fourth quarter. “I can’t explain it. I’m getting emotional.
“Solon is a great team, great coaches. Every time you play Solon, you know it’s going to be fight.”
Solon coach Kevin Miller had no trouble explaining why his team lost to Regina for the fourth time in a row. The Spartans self-destructed throughout the game, beginning with numerous botched snaps between the center and quarterback.
Miller switched centers at halftime, but the offense still bogged down.
“We’d get things going driving the football and then all of a sudden we’d fall apart,” Miller said. “And when we had guys in position we just didn’t execute very well.
“I think the effort was there. We just didn’t do the things that we needed to do to execute in crucial moments. And they’re a great football team and they took advantage of every opportunity that we gave them.”
Regina finished with 405 totals yards, with Dixon accounting for 221 yards. Junior quarterback Drew Cook also went 13-of-24 for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
Cook, who is the son of Regina coach Marv Cook, was happy for his seniors afterwards.
“That’s a great accomplishment,” Drew Cook said. “The senior class is a great class. They’re great leaders. They’re great guys. And I love playing with them. They’re great football players.”
Friday’s victory came in a week in which the Regina coaches were accused by an anonymous source of giving steroids to their players beginning in 2010. Marv Cook called the accusations “baseless” and his son said it wasn’t a distraction.
“Our job was to focus on football,” Drew Cook said. “One thing coach Cook always says is don’t worry about the things you can’t control.”
After being forced to punt on its first two possessions, the Regina offense started to click late in the first quarter behind Cook’s passing. He connected with Dixon for a 36-yard pass play to the Solon 32-yard line.
The Spartans stiffened on defense and forced Regina to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Jacob Adam with 18.2 seconds left in the first quarter.
Cook and his cohorts kept the Solon defenders on their heels in the second quarter with a variety of passing plays. He connected with junior Jake Brinkman on a short pass in the flat. Brinkman then eluded several defenders and raced 55 yards for a touchdown with 5:30 left in the second quarter.
Regina expanded its lead to 17-0 when Cook completed another short pass in the flat that Nick Phillips turned into a 12-yard touchdown reception with 1:04 left before halftime. Phillips eluded several Solon defenders and then dove into the corner of the end zone.
The Regals only rushed for 27 yards in the first quarter, but it had little effect as Cook completed 10-of-14 passes for 172 yards in the first two quarters.
Junior running back Brandon Kramer provided the biggest spark for Solon on offense in the first half by rushing for 59 yards on 12 carries. He finished with 94 rushing yards overall.
The Regina defenders kept Solon quarterback Jacob Black under wraps for most of the game. He broke loose for a 30-yard gain late in the second quarter, but the drive ultimately stalled at midfield.
The lead grew 24-0 when Dixon scooted through a huge hole and scored on a 9-yard with 3:14 left in the third quarter.
Most of the fourth quarter was played with a continuous clock, which goes into effect when a team leads by at least 35 points.
Solon was held to just 160 total yards by an aggressive Regina defense, including minus-12 in the second half where Black had seven carries where he lost yards mostly because of botched snaps.
“Our defense played the best game I’ve ever seen a defense play in high school football,” Dixon said. “It was unbelievable what they did to the Solon offense.”
Coach Cook was pleased for his senior for achieving yet another milestone to go along with the winning streak and the three consecutive state titles.
“I know that was kind of on their (radar) a little by making sure that they kind of represented themselves that way,” coach Cook said. “I’m proud for them. They’ve been great leaders for us so far this year, and hopefully, they continue to do that for us.”
R – Jacob Adam 27 FG
R – Jake Brinkman 55 pass from Drew Cook (Adam kick)
R – Nick Phillips 12 pass from Cook (Adam kick)
R – Riley 9 run (Adam kick)
R – Dixon 64 run (Adam kick)
R – Michael Adam 8 run (Jacob Adam kick)
|Total Nets Yards||405||160|
RUSHING – Regina: Riley Dixon 14-169, Drew Cook 6-19, Michael Adam 4-17, Michael Cooper 2-7, Cliff Wagner 1-3. Solon: Brandon Kramer 19-94, Jacob Black 14-1, Seth Phillips 2-14, Nate Kennedy 3-8. Deew
PASSING – Regina: Drew Cook 13-24-185. Solon: Jacob Black 6-16-45
RECEIVING – Regina: Bryan Amelon 5-57, Riley Dixon 4-52, Nich Phillips 2-20, Payton Raso 1-10, Jake Brinkman 1-55. Solon: Jordan Wymer 2-13, Spencer Schaefer 2-6, Connor Hamm 1-16, Nathan Hawkins 1-10.