SOLON– It was a perfect storm for Solon.
The Spartans dismantled one of the top offenses in Class 3A last Monday with a 49-20 win over West Delaware.
The victory put Solon into the Class 3A quarterfinals against No. 2 Decorah Friday night, and the Spartans earned a date at the UNI-Dome with a 28-20 win over the Vikings.
But as great as it was to beat the defending state champs, the team that knocked you out of the playoffs last year, the second round match against West Delaware was almost picture perfect, with Solon’s offense, defense and special teams firing on all cylinders.
“The players were focused and determined right from the beginning,” head coach Kevin Miller said. “This was the best performance that our team displayed this year without a doubt. I felt we were dominant in every phase of the game. We controlled the game from the onset with our physical play.”
After West Delaware’s first offensive possession stalled, Brandon Kramer blocked the punt and Solon took over near the red zone, punching it in on a 1-yard run Jacob Black.
On its next possession, Black broke a 79-yard touchdown run down the sidelines.
On the next possession, the Spartans converted a fourth and goal near the end of the first quarter and Solon was ahead 20-0 against the top-ranked Class 3A offense.
In between, the Solon defense was throttling West Delaware’s offense, which was missing quarterback Brett Lammers, who left the game in the first quarter and didn’t return.
That left leading rusher Coy Roussell and backup quarterback Max Ridenour to carry the load.
The Solon defense held Ridenour to 9 yards passing on a single completion, and Roussell was held to under 30 yards rushing in the first half.
By halftime, Solon was ahead 35-0.
“As a whole our defense was stingy,” Miller said. “The defensive players must have a thorough understanding of our schemes. We run multiple fronts and coverages which requires the players to be mentally engaged at all times.”
Defensively, Logan Linderbaum had six tackles and a solo tackle for loss, but 12 Spartans were credited with at least three tackles each. Dalton Ferguson and Danny Whitmore each had solo tackles for a loss.
Special teams were also on target. Kramer returned the second half kick-off 79 yards to the West Delaware 6-yard-line, and had a punt return of 37 yards. Jordan Wymer had two punt returns for 46 yards.
The Spartans finished with 336 total yards of offense, led by Black with 14 carries for 149 yards. Kramer added 22 yards, while Wymer had 16.
Nathan Hawkins had one reception for 78 yards, a bomb that set up Solon’s fifth touchdown of the game. Jacob Gibbs also had a lengthy reception, a 65-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Brandon Childs late in the game, which gave the Spartans their final score for the evening.