DECORAH– Solon scored the first three points, but the next 35 points came from No. 1 Decorah in last Monday night’s second round game in the Class 3A football playoffs. The Spartans took the opening kickoff and scored a field goal, but the Vikings went on to score 35 unanswered points on the way to a 35-10 win, bouncing Solon from the postseason with an 8-3 record.
Most of the damage was done by the Vikings in the second quarter.
Trailing 7-3, the Spartans were unable to click offensively and punted the ball to the Vikings early in the quarter. Decorah set up shop with good field position near midfield, and moments later were in the red zone thanks to senior running back Josey Jewell. Jewell burned the Solon defense for 156 yards rushing, and his ability to stay on his feet plagued Solon most of the evening.
Decorah scored with just under 10 minutes remaining in the half to make it a 14-3 game.
“We started the game the way we had planned. We moved the ball the entire length of the field but had to settle for a field goal,” noted Solon head coach Kevin Miller. “On Decorah’s first series, we recovered a fumble but then turned it right back over to them. From that point on, they took control of the game and we couldn’t manage to finish drives or contain their offense.”
Solon’s next drive looked promising, starting on the 20 and marching into Viking territory. But a failed fourth down conversion gave the ball back to Decorah, and another long run by Jewell put the Vikings in scoring position.
With just under four minutes remaining in the second quarter, Decorah had pushed it to a 21-3 lead.
But the Vikings weren’t done.
When Solon was forced to punt with under two minutes in the half, Jewell gave Decorah field position at the center stripe with a 30-yard return. Three consecutive pass plays put Decorah in striking distance, although Solon’s defense was able to stuff Jewell on a pitch with 17 seconds remaining. Decorah quarterback Jacob Kvale hooked up in the end zone with wideout Michael Peter, and with 10 seconds left before intermission, Solon had a steep hill to climb trailing 28-3.
“For the most part I was pleased with our effort. However, we failed to execute in critical situations on offense and couldn’t get a defensive stop when we needed one,” Miller said.
The Spartan defense held the Vikings to a three-and-out on their first possession of the second half, but when the Solon offense couldn’t get a drive going, Decorah chewed up a lot of the third quarter clock on a long drive that culminated with a final touchdown.
Down 35-3, the Spartans got things clicking to start the fourth quarter and Jordan Wymer scored on a 2-yard run to give Solon bookend scores for the evening and the final score, 35-10.
“Decorah is an outstanding team,” Miller said. “We knew that we were going to have to execute and play physical if we were going to compete with a team of Decorah’s caliber.”
Solon had 271 yards of total offense against the Vikings, 181 on the ground and 90 through the air. Senior quarterback Rory Siddell was the leading rusher with 94 yards on 12 carries. Tim Lance added 37 and Wymer had 32.
As a passer, Siddell was 7-18 with one interception. Nathan Hawkins had four receptions for 49 yards, while Wymer had two catches for 40 yards.
Chris McNutt was the leading tackler for the Solon defense with 10. Eli DeWitt had a fumble recovery.
“I’m proud of our players and the amount of improvement they made throughout the course of the year,” Miller said. “The players were coachable and displayed tremendous resiliency throughout the year. Lastly, the seniors provided tremendous leadership and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to have coached them.”