Regina found itself in unfamiliar territory on Friday.
For just the second time in the last six seasons, the Regals needed to bounce back from a loss.
The Regals got the victory they were looking for.
Top-ranked Regina (8-1) bounced back from its second loss in its last 78 games last week with a 31-14 win at Pella Christian (6-3) on Friday.
The win secured the Class 1A District 6 title for Regina and came after Class 3A fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier scored 31 unanswered second-half points in a 38-35 win last week to snap a 20-game Regina winning streak.
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“The kids responded extremely well and Pella Christian is a good football team, so we knew it was going to be a good game,” Regina coach Marv Cook said. “It was a good week. We did a lot of fundamentals and got them off their feet as much as possible because we know that now they come pretty fast and the kids responded well.”
Senior Nathan Stenger led the Regina bounce back effort accounting for 328 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in the win.
Stenger completed 7-of-15 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown, a 59-yard strike to Sam Lincoln.
The senior quarterback also rushed for a team-high 128 yards on 10 carries and scored on a 13-yard run.
An all-state selection as a receiver last year, Stenger even caught two passes for 68 yards including a 31-yard scoring strike from junior Tommy Rapp.
Rapp completed 5-of-9 passes for 90 yards.
“We went in with the idea that we were going to play Tommy Rapp a little bit at quarterback and let Nathan do what he does on the outside receiving wise,” Cook said. “Nate rushed for 100 yards and caught a couple passes and threw a touchdown as well. So he is back to being that complete really, really good athlete that he was last year. He has played really well all year and we decided we wanted to use him in multiple capacities.”
Prior to the loss to Xavier last week, the last loss for Regina was a 29-28 overtime setback to Solon in the 2014 season-opener.
Regina followed that loss with 20 straight wins including a fifth straight state title last fall.
The Regals are hoping Friday’s win was the start of another streak.
“Our kids are excited about this time of year, this is what you look forward to,” Cook said. “Hopefully we can put a nice run together going into the playoffs.”
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Solon senior quarterback Brandan Childs did a little bit of everything in a 31-13 win over Dubuque Wahlert on Friday. Childs was 6-of-10 passing for 89 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Childs also returned an interception 82 yards for a score.
RUNNER-UP: It was another night at the office for Luke Lenoch. The West Branch junior rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns on a season-high 39 carries in a 24-14 win over Alburnett. Lenoch also made 3.5 tackles, including 1.5 for loss and picked off a pass in the win.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Mid-Prairie needed a big defensive effort in its regular-season finale on Friday and the Golden Hawks got one from one of their biggest defensive players.
Junior defensive lineman Levi Duwa had 5.5 tackles for loss among his eight stops on Friday including 3.5 sacks in a 20-7 win over Mediapolis.
Duwa helped Mid-Prairie limit the Bulldogs to 24 rushing yards on 21 carries and 155 yards of total offense.
RUNNER-UP: A defensive honor for a team that allowed 41 points? The way the City High defense ended its 42-41 win over Muscatine on Friday — why not.
So Kyle Swenning, Dillon Africa, Jason Jones the eight other Little Hawks that kept Muscatine tailback Alphonso Soko from crossing the goal line on a potential game-winning two-point conversion get the nod.
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or [email protected] follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.