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Regina blasts West Liberty

BY SHANE ERSLAND | OCTOBER 12, 2009 7:20 AM

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Holding on to the football seemed to be an impossible task for West Liberty’s offense during the first quarter of the district game against Regina on Oct. 9 in Iowa City.

The Comets fumbled the ball away on their first three possessions, and Regina returned two of those for touchdowns en route to a 49-13 win.

“We’ve been really solid on defense all year,” said Regina coach Marv Cook. “Getting points off turnovers was huge.”

Quarterback Mason Garcia fumbled on West Liberty’s first drive, and Regal defensive lineman Jordan Corpman recovered. Regina’s quarterback Jack Verducci capitalized on the turnover during the fourth play of the Regal’s ensuing drive, when he ran 10 yards for a touchdown.

During the Comets’ second possession, Regal defensive end Braden Lehman picked up Erik McKillip’s fumble, and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown.

“[Tyler] Nelson stuck the guy, and I was able to come away with the ball,” Lehman said. “We were playing hard-nosed D.”

Nelson got his opportunity on the following Comet drive. On West Liberty’s first play from scrimmage, Nathan Smith fumbled the ball away, and Nelson scooped it up and took it back 26 yards for a score.

A pass from Verducci that hit Daniel Larew for a 12-yard score highlighted the Regals’ second drive, putting the team up 28-0 around five minutes into the game.

First-quarter scoring continued for the Regals. Verducci delivered a 26-yard pass to wide receiver George Sehl for a score with 4:22 left in the period.

West Liberty turned the ball over again in the first quarter when Garcia threw an interception to Nate Streb. In the second quarter, the Comets couldn’t get anything going offensively and went into halftime down 42-0.

“West Liberty’s a good team, but when you’re down 28-0 five minutes in, it’s tough to overcome,” Cook said.

In the second half, the Comets were able to take advantage of the Regal defense while Regina had several reserves playing. Garcia threw two touchdowns to Jonathan Lopez, making the score 42-13.

The Comets held the Regals scoreless in the third quarter, but with 1:12 left in the fourth, Josh Adam picked off a Garcia pass, and took it back 20 yards for the Regals third defensive touchdown of the game.

Regina improved to 7-0 with the victory; West Liberty fell to 2-5.

The Regals will host top-ranked Solon next week in a battle of undefeated teams.

“This win meant a lot to us,” Lehman said. “We get to take on Solon undefeated in a big game next week.”


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