Dominant Defensive Effort Lifts Solon Past Washington


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

SOLON – The level of offensive execution can vary from week to week for even the best football teams.

Class 3A third-ranked Solon is no exception to that.

A luxury the Spartans have is the ability to fall back on a dominating defense.

Solon scuffled at times on offense on Friday but got a boost from a defense that forced three turnovers and blocked a punt in a 37-14 rout of Washington in a 3A District 6 contest at chilly Spartan Stadium.

“Defense is our pride and joy,” Solon senior Adam Bock said. “At practice we go crazy when we work on defense and that shows on Friday nights.”

Solon was dominant on defense from the outset on Friday while improving to 6-0 on the season and 2-0 in District 6 play.

The Spartans held Washington (3-3, 1-1) to 27 total yards and two first downs in the first half while opening up a 37-0 halftime lead.

“We are back to what we want to do defensively, I was real pleased with our execution on the defensive end,” Solon coach Kevin Miller said. “Whether it be pass coverage or up front I thought we did a nice job and I thought we were good defending the run as well.”

Solon certainly wasn’t bad on offense, totaling 311 yards while scoring at least 34 points for the five time this season.

However, it was the Solon defense that set the tone on a night when the Spartans weren’t as crisp as usual offensively.

“We definitely keep getting better,” Solon senior linebacker Coal Flansburg said. “We are working on improving every week in practice and we are improving incrementally every week.”

Solon started its first seven drives of the game in Washington territory thanks in large part to a dominant defensive effort.

The Spartan defensive set up short fields with a pair of fumble recoveries, an interception and a blocked punt in the first half all of which resulted in Solon scores.

“We rushed the football well and we had some short fields and we capitalized and I believe that was pretty key and fundamental to the outcome of the game,” Miller said. “Along with great defense.”

Solon had touchdown drives of four, three, one, three and three plays in the first half while building a 37-0 lead.

Bock had 89 of his 97 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the first half and Cam Miller threw a pair of touchdown strikes to AJ Coons during a 20-point Solon second quarter.

“I think we played really well on both sides of the ball,” Bock said. “Our defense was forcing them 3-and-out a lot of times and set our offense up with some really good field position and we moved the ball from there.

Solon struck first with a four-play, 48-yard touchdown drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Miller.

Bock covered the first 47 yards of the scoring drive on three runs including a 33-yard on the first play.

On the first play of the ensuing Washington possession a wild snap went over the head of Washington quarterback Luke Turner and Solon defensive end Clay Gerdin recovered at the Demon 24 yard line.

Three plays later Bock scored on a 14-yard touchdown run that put the Spartans up 14-0 with 3:26 left in the opening quarter.

“The turnovers had a huge impact,” Gerdin said. “The short fields helped get our run game and our offense going.”

The next Washington drive was a three-and-out that ended with a blocked punt that set Solon up at the 29 yard line.

Solon settled for a 29-yard field goal by Cael O’Neil but got the ball back when Washington lost a fumble on the first play from scrimmage and Jackson Pipolo fell on it.

On the first play following the turnover Bock went 18-yard for a touchdown and a 23-0 lead.

“We were just trying to keep them off balance and throw stuff at them that they hadn’t seen on film,” Bock said. “That’s what we did all night and it worked.”

Another Washington three-and-out led to a three-play, 45-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 11-yard strike from Miller to Coons.

On the next possession Aidan Dall picked off a Turner pass and returned it 25 yards to the Demon 32 yard line.

Three plays later Miller and Coons connected on a 29-yard touchdown pass that put Solon up 37-0 with 6:36 left in the first half.

Nine first-half drives for Washington resulted in two first downs, six punts and three turnovers.

“I thought we were pretty lock down tonight,” Solon senior defensive tackle Mike Hoyle said. “Defense is our specialty and we played great defense tonight.”

Miller finished 7-of-20 passing for 96 yards with an interception and two touchdowns while Solon rushed for 215 yards.

Turner accounted for all the Washington scoring with a pair of late touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as Solon substituted frequently.

                                 SOL                WASH

First downs                16                    9

Rushes-yards             32-215             26-59

Comp-Att-Int             7-20-1              7-16-1

Passing yards             96                    143

Total yards                 311                  202

Punts-Avg.                 4-35.3              6-30.3

Fumbles-lost               1-0                   4-2

Penalties-yards          7-75                 5-35

Solon                           17   20   0   0   –  37

Washington                 0     0    0  14  –  14

SOL – Cam Miller 1 run (Cael O’Neil kick)

SOL – Adam Bock 14 run (O’Neil kick)

SOL – O’Neil 29 field goal

SOL – Bock 18 run (Kick failed)

SOL – AJ Coons 11 pass from Miller (Aidan Dall kick)

SOL – Coons 29 pass from Miller (O’Neil kick)

WAS – Cade Hennigan 13 pass from Luke Turner (Logan Escher kick)

WAS – Kolten Hinrichsen 30 pass from Turner (Escher kick)

Individual Statistics

RUSHING – SOL: Adam Bock 11-97, Hunter Kula 8-54, Coal Flansburg 1-35, Cam Miller 6-22, Thomas Brandt 4-4, Dillon Hoit 1-2, Bo Janssen 1-1. WAS: Luke Edwards 11-55, Tristin Westphal-Edwards 12-18, Garrett Ikerd 2-1, Team 1-(-15).

PASSING – SOL: Cam Miller 7-20-1 96. WAS: Luke Turner 7-16-1 143.

RECEIVING – SOL: AJ Coons 5-62, Dillon Hoit 1-19, Hunter Kula 1-15. WAS: Ethan Hunt 3-79, Kolten Hinrichsen 3-51, Cade Hennigan 1-13.  

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