IOWA CITY– It was just too much.
Iowa City Regina powered past Solon 31-7 Friday night, dropping the Spartans to 1-1 on the young football season.
Untimely penalties and turnovers plagued Solon throughout the evening, perhaps evidenced best by the closing minutes of the second quarter.
Up to that point, Solon’s defense had kept it close, while the offense had been stagnant.
The Spartans were trailing 10-0, but they had the ball and had strung together a few first downs, driving all the way to the Regina 15-yard-line.
On a fade pass in the end zone, Regina’s Matt Streb intercepted Rory Siddell’s throw, and the Spartans came up empty.
With less than two minutes on the clock, the Regals came back with an 85-yard touchdown drive in five plays, aided by a pass interference flag on the Spartans. Although the extra point was blocked, Regina now led 16-0 and the momentum was firmly in the Regals’ hands.
Solon had scoring opportunities, but each one slipped away until Nate Kennedy’s 14-yard touchdown late in the game.
Solon’s defense was on the field a lot, and it had a hard time containing Regina’s rushing game– Riley Dixon.
For the game, Dixon had 25 carries for 187 yards, an average of 7.5 yards per carry. His 37-yard run at the end of the second half set up Regina’s quick score, but he never reached the end zone himself.
All but one of Regina’s touchdowns came in the air, and all of those belonged to Alex Balke. Balke was wide open in the end zone on a slant to end the half, then juked a defender out of his shoes and scored to close a third quarter drive. He also had a 49-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. The lone Regal rushing touchdown belonged to Regal quarterback Mark Ward, who collected 56 on the ground and went 7-14 for 119 yards in the air. Ward’s 26-yard third-quarter interception took Regina to Solon’s 17-yard-line and set up one of Balke’s scores.
Solon’s offense only had one first down in its first three possessions.
Quarterback Siddell was the leading rusher with 88 yards on 15 carries, and the Spartans had 194 total yards on the ground, but the majority came in the second half. Siddell was 8-16 through the air for 52 yards and two picks. Austin Miller entered the game late and was 2-5 for 17 yards.
Solon returns home to host Mount Pleasant Friday, Sept. 7, which will also feature the dedication of the new Spartan Stadium.