Prep playoffs: IC Regina survives comeback to go to finals


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For three quarters on Monday, the Regina High Regals (Iowa City) looked like the team that hadn't lost a game by fewer than 28 points all season.

But in game's final period, the Beckman Catholic High Trailblazers (Dyersville) nearly mounted a comeback for the ages.

No. 1 Regina hung on to defeat No. 7 Beckman, 35-28, on Monday in the Iowa High School Athletics Association Class 2A semifinals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. The victory was the Regals' 27th in a row, and it will send Regina to Saturday's state championship game against Spirit Lake.

The Regal offense dominated the first 36 minutes of the game, especially on the ground. The two-headed monster of senior running backs Jacob Vollstedt and Joe McCaffery buoyed the Regina offense. McCaffery scored each of Regina's first four touchdowns, all from within 5 yards of the end zone, and Vollstedt added 163 yards to go with his third-quarter score that gave Regina a 35-7 lead.
Regina head coach Marv Cook — who played tight end for the Hawkeyes in the 1980s — said the combination of Vollstedt and McCaffery gave the team an efficient offense throughout most of the game.

"They've been running like that all year; they do a good job of getting their pads squared, and they're tough to tackle," Cook said. "Our offensive line was doing a good job, and when you get guys that run behind that, you have a pretty effective offensive system."

But in the fourth quarter, Beckman put together three scores in 2:14 to give Regina its biggest test of the season.

The rally began when Trailblazer senior quarterback Connor Golden found Ty Troutman for a 35-yard touchdown pass with 4:12 to play.

After recovering an onside kick, Golden threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to tailback Derek Hammann to cut the Regal lead to 35-21 with 3:46 remaining, and the Beckman defense followed by stonewalling the Regal offense. Beckman quickly drove down the field, culminating in a 42-yard touchdown strike from Golden to Troutman to pull the Trailblazers within 7 points with 1:58 to play.

Regina senior Chris Nepola recovered the Beckman onside kick, but the Regals still needed a first down to clinch the game. After three carries garnered eight yards, Cook decided to go for it on fourth and 2 with 28 seconds left. The Regina head coach turned to McCaffery with a perfect season and a 26-game winning streak on the line.

The senior plunged forward for the final 3 yards to push his game total to 90 on the game. The rush was more than enough to send Regina to the state championship game.

McCaffery, who noted that he recited a little prayer before his final run, said he followed his blockers to pick up the needed yards.

"I got great blocks, and I just put my head down and went," he said. "I really wanted to get that, and we needed it so badly."

Despite falling just short, Beckman coach Gregg Hammann, also a former Hawkeye football player, said he was proud his team fought back against the state's top-ranked program.

"We kept stubbing our toe in the first half, and we got it back on track," he said. "Our kids did a fabulous job, but we ran out of time."

Cook said surviving Beckman's effort means his senior class gets another chance to shine on the state's biggest stage.

"This is a great group of seniors, and from the beginning of the year, they've been able to showcase what they can do," he said. "Hopefully, we can get one more."

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