VAN HORNE– The halftime score was the final score.
The Solon Spartans rolled up 43 points in the first half against Benton Community in Van Horne Friday night, and that’s all that was needed.
The Spartans wrapped up the Class 3A District 6 championship outright with the 43-7 win, moving Solon’s record to 8-1 on the season and undefeated within the district.
The Spartans will be ushered into the postseason quickly, with a Wednesday, Oct. 30, first round home game against Western Dubuque of Epworth. A win moves Solon to a site yet to be determined in the second round, facing either Marion or West Delaware Monday, Nov. 4.
All game times in the postseason are 7 p.m.
But first the regular season had to end, and that was the business before the Spartans Friday at Van Horne.
Solon jumped out to a two-touchdown lead after a 21-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Black to Nathan Hawkins and a 62-yard punt return by Jordan Wymer.
“We took what Benton gave us offensively,” said head coach Kevin Miller. “It became apparent from the onset that they were committed to stopping the run.”
The Spartans were held to only 81 yards on the ground, but Solon is not a one-dimensional club.
Black, the senior quarterback, went 8-10, passing for 163 yards and three touchdowns
“Jacob was effective due to Benton putting a lot of players in the box to stop the run,” Miller noted. “Offensively we did a great job of protecting and catching the football.”
Junior Connor Ham had 89 receiving yards, including a 54-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter. Hawkins had three catches for 37 yards and two touchdowns, while Wymer had two for 16 yards and Brandon Kramer with 21 yards on a single catch.
After Ham’s touchdown reception gave Solon a 22-7 second quarter lead, the Spartans rattled off three more scores for the 43-7 halftime tally. Hawkins collected another pass from Black for a 5-yard touchdown, followed by Wymer and Black each finishing short runs to the end zone.
“Overall we played well,” Miller summarized. “Defensively we were very solid. Other than giving up one long pass play for a touchdown we were very consistent. If the defensive line plays well, our linebackers make a lot of tackles and that was certainly the case Friday night.”
Senior linebacker Nate Kennedy had a team-high 12 tackles, as well as an interception with a 35-yard return. Wymer and Hawkins also collected interceptions against Benton’s Bobcats.
In fact, Solon players caught more Benton Community passes than Bobcats did.
The Spartan defense held Benton’s two quarterbacks to only two completions out of 14 attempts for 59 passing yards, and one of those was the 55-yard touchdown in the first quarter that accounted for all of the Bobcats’ scoring.
Benton did gain an even 100 yards on the ground, but Solon forced the Bobcats into four turnovers (Jacob Gibb recovered a fumble to go with the interceptions).
“The most exciting and gratifying aspect of the game was that each and every player was able to contribute,” Miller said. “As coaches we enjoy watching all of our players having the opportunity to compete and contribute to the outcome of the game.”