MARION– It was too many turnovers and too much Trev Beiry.
The Marion Indians handed the Solon Spartans their second loss of the season, 24-14, and wrested control of the lead in Class 3A District 6 Friday night in Marion.
Solon quarterback Rory Siddell threw four interceptions in the game, and Marion’s senior running back Trev Beiry blistered the Spartan defense for 178 yards and three touchdowns.
But even with those stats, even with a 21-7 deficit at the half, Solon had a chance at sneaking away with a win.
Solon started out the third quarter trailing by two touchdowns and the Spartans’ first drive of the second half pushed into Marion territory before a holding penalty negated a big gain by Jordan Wymer. Facing a third and very long, Siddell threw his third interception.
On the ensuing play, however, Beiry coughed up the ball and Solon’s Danny Whitmore recovered at the Indians’ 42. The Spartans picked the momentum back up and drove to the Marion 5-yard line where they faced a fourth and 2. After a timeout, Wymer took the handoff on a sweep for a 5-yard touchdown, and Solon was right back in the game, trailing 21-14.
Defensively, the Spartans played a much tighter game in the second half, allowing only a 33-yard field goal. That came after Solon’s defense allowed a 39-yard pass completion by Trevor Hardman to Quinn Cannoy in the fourth quarter.
Otherwise, the Spartan defense bent, but didn’t break in the second half.
The offense, however, could not keep the momentum.
Within a touchdown and with the ball back after a stalled Marion drive, Solon drove from its own 24 to near midfield, but could manage no farther. After the Indian field goal in the fourth and now down two scores, 24-14, the Spartans again mounted a drive that went from their own 24 to the Marion 25, but the fourth interception of the game put the kibosh on comeback hopes and Marion pounded out the remainder of the fourth quarter on a clock-chewing drive.
“We committed too many turnovers and didn’t execute in critical moments in the game,” coach Kevin Miller observed. “I think the turnovers were a combination of things. It starts with lack of execution, but also Marion made some nice plays on the ball. You have to give credit to Marion for making plays when they needed to.”
Solon was limited to 210 yards of total offense, with 110 yards on the ground and 100 through the air. Siddell was the leading rusher with 55 yards on 14 carries. Aaron Shulista added 51 yards on nine attempts, including a 15-yard touchdown run in the first half.
Siddell was 11-18 passing, with four interceptions. Austin Holub was the leading receiver with five catches and 41 yards. Chris McNutt added 34 yards on three catches, while Wymer had 19 yards on one completion.
Marion, on the other hand, ran 20 plays more, had 331 yards of total offense, and a lot of that belonged to Beiry. Beiry rushed 28 times for 178 yards, but 120 of those yards and all three of his touchdowns came in the first half. Beiry was injured and missed a portion of the second half, but he did return for Marion’s final drive of the game. The Indians had 54 rushing attempts compared to 26 for Solon.
“Marion was big and physical and did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage,” Miller said. “There’s definitely room for improvement from an execution standpoint. We just need to settle in and be confident with the schemes that we have in place. As a whole we just have to concentrate on improving and not allow this loss to define the rest of the season.”
The Spartans end the regular season with two home games, the first hosting Maquoketa Friday night, Oct. 12, and the final game Oct. 19 when Benton Community rolls into town.
Solon drops to 5-2 on the season.