SOLON– It took all of 10 seconds for the Solon Spartans to feel better about themselves.
Jordan Wymer took Mount Pleasant’s opening kickoff 95 yards for a score, and the rout was on.
Solon scored 42 points in the first quarter and let the continuous clock run in the second half for a 56-6 win.
“It was a great win, one in which we really needed to get our confidence back,” said head coach Kevin Miller. “I thought as a whole we executed much better in all phases of the game, especially on special teams.”
Once the scoring started, it seemed the Spartans couldn’t stop, as big play followed big play on offense and defense.
On its first offensive possession, Solon put together a three-play, 67-yard drive which included a 39-yard quarterback keeper by Rory Siddell. Aaron Shulista capped it with a 7-yard touchdown run.
Mount Pleasant’s offense coughed up the ball on the ensuing possession and Tim Lance recovered it along the far sidelines, setting up an Austin Holub touchdown catch.
Minutes later, the Panthers were forced to punt and Wymer was back for return duty. He fielded the ball just on the Solon side of midfield, started right then left, then right again, then left again. By this time, he had picked up a cadre of blockers and they escorted him down the home sidelines for a 54-yard touchdown.
But the Spartans weren’t done yet.
It was still the first quarter.
The visiting team managed a foray into Spartan territory on its next possession thanks to a long run by Alex O’Donnell, but Austin Holub intercepted Mount Pleasant quarterback Connor Shull near the Solon 30 and he returned it to the Panther 29-yard-line.
That set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Siddell, and after Josh Proehl’s extra point (he was 7-7 on the night), the score was 35-0 with three-and-a-half minutes left in the first quarter.
The Panthers again attempted to mount a drive, but Wymer put a lick on Mount Pleasant’s Carson Remick, and defensive lineman Dalton Ferguson gathered the fumble in at the Panthers’ 39-yard-line.
Moments later, Tim Lance ran straight up the gut for a 31-yard score, and the Spartans had built a 42-0 lead with two minutes to go before the start of the second quarter.
Lance scored again with about two minutes elapsed in the second quarter to make the score 49-0.
The Panthers finally put up some points before the half when Shull connected on a 44-yard strike to Dalton Conrad, and the two teams entered the half with Solon up 49-6.
It stayed that way until Nate Kennedy scored in the fourth.
Solon amassed 270 yards on the ground and 69 in the air for 339 total yards. Kennedy was the leading rusher with 85 yards on nine carries. Lance had collected 64 yards on eight carries, Siddell 47 yards on three attempts and Shulista 32 yards on four tries. The Spartans averaged 7.7 yards per carry.
Siddell was 5-6 passing, with Holub catching two for 41 yards and Tyler Shaffer making one great grab for 18 yards.
The Solon defense held Mount Pleasant to just 31 net yards on the ground.
Shull was 13-25 in the air for 168 yards.
Kiefer Stone was the leading Solon tackler with six, while Lance and Holub had five each. Ferguson, Lance, Ron Lowenberg and Paul Pisarik recorded sacks.
“I measure our success on the playing field based on overall execution,” coach Miller said of the lopsided win. “We evaluate our success on players executing their roles within the schemes and techniques that we have in place. As a whole I thought we did that, however, we just need to be more consistent.
“I was pleased with our overall effort and intensity,” Miller added. “We played hard and were physical as well. The key for our team is to make daily and weekly improvement.”