Hull Western Christian stops Regina's long title reign
CEDAR FALLS (AP) — Ben Granstra ran for three touchdowns, Tyson Kooima accounted for three more scores and Hull Western Christian beat Iowa City Regina 47-34 on Friday to win the Class 1A state championship and deny the Regals a seventh consecutive title.
Granstra ground out 180 yards on 39 carries and topped off his big day with a 1-yard TD run that finally put the back-and-forth game out of reach and gave Western Christian (12-1) its first state championship.
Regina (11-2), which had won 33 straight playoff games and 80 straight against 1A competition, was done in by five turnovers and its inability to get key defensive stops.
Isaac Vollstedt ran for 189 yards and three touchdowns for the Regals, but it wasn’t enough against a Western Christian team that was in only its 13th season of football. Western lost to Regina 35-28 in last year’s championship game.
After a first half that featured four lead changes and ended 27-all, Western Christian took the third quarter kickoff and drove 72 yards in 10 plays to take the lead for good on Granstra’s 3-yard run.
A flurry of turnovers by both teams followed before Kooima floated a pass to Ben Gesink in the end zone for a 23-yard scoring play and a 41-27 lead.
Regina drew to 41-34 when Vollstedt blasted through the line on a 3-yard touchdown run, but the Wolverines answered with a time-consuming drive to wrap it up.
On a gutsy fourth-and-7 play from the Regina 27, Kooima found Gesink for 26 yards and Granstra scored on the next play. Gesink’s interception 11 seconds later ended any Regina hopes of winning another title.
Kooima completed 17 of 30 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted three times. He also scored on a 5-yard run and finished with 49 yards rushing.
Gesink wound up with six catches for 110 yards and also returned a fumble 42 yards for a touchdown.