Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – It wasn’t going to take a perfect effort for Solon to pick up a win in its Class 3A playoff opener against Western Dubuque.
As it turned out the Spartans would have needed to be pretty close to flawless to get past the Bobcats.
Eighth-ranked Western Dubuque bolted to a 21-0 lead and rolled to a 48-13 win over third-ranked Solon in a Class 3A postseason opener on Friday at Spartan Stadium.
Solon had a pair of first-quarter turnovers and was doomed by untimely penalties while falling into an early hole it could never dig out of.
“We didn’t play clean and we had to be pretty clean to beat that good of a team,” Solon junior quarterback Cam Miller said. “We didn’t play sound tonight. When you turn the ball over and don’t play clean that is what happens.”
Calvin Harris passed for 283 yards and threw three touchdown passes to Drake George as Western Dubuque (8-2) won its first playoff game since 2001.
Backup running back Jake Hosch rushed for 104 yards and three touchdowns as the Bobcats rolled up 401 yards of total offense.
Western Dubuque will get a regular season rematch with fourth-ranked North Scott (9-1) in the 3A quarterfinals next week while Solon closes the season 9-1.
“That’s an outstanding 8-2 football team,” Solon coach Kevin Miller said. “They’ve played some good competition and they were everything I thought they were. I watched on film and knew they had the making of a pretty good football team.”
Western Dubuque scored three first-quarter touchdowns in a span of just more than five minutes, taking advantage of a pair of Spartan turnovers and a key roughing the punter penalty.
“We had some turnovers and untimely penalties that set up short fields for them but I don’t want to take anything away from them,” Kevin Miller said. “They outplayed us, that’s a good football team and they deserved to win. They obviously exposed some our weaknesses."
After forcing a Western Dubuque punt on the opening possession of the game Solon lost a fumble on its first offensive play setting up the Bobcats at the Spartan 18 yard line.
On the first play after the turnover Harris hit George for an 18-yard touchdown strike and a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
Both teams went 3-and-out on their next possession but Solon was called for roughing the punter on 4th and 14 extending the Bobcat drive.
On the first play after the penalty Harris hit George in stride for a 71-yard touchdown pass that made it 14-0 with 3:57 left in the first quarter.
“Coach (Andrew) Reinert called some good shot plays after turnovers and we felt like if they were going to man up with Drake on the back side that we were going to have an advantage,” Western Dubuque coach Justin Penner said. “Calvin really delivered some good balls down the stretch.”
On the first play following the touchdown Sam Goodman picked off a Miller pass and returned it 21 yards to the Solon 49 yard line.
Four plays later Hosch scored on a 1-yard TD plunge and it was 21-0 Bobcats less than 10 minutes into the game.
Solon cut the lead to two scores twice, first on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Miller to senior Clay Gerdin and later on a 1-yard scoring run by Coal Flansburg.
But both Solon scores were followed by Bobcat touchdown drives.
“We had some untimely mistakes and some untimely penalties that killed our momentum,” Solon junior receiver AJ Coons said. “We had to cut some of those out if we were going to come back and win that game.”
Harris finished an efficient 14-of-20 through the air, adding an 8-yard touchdown pass to George in the second half.
George entered as the 3A leader in receptions and hauled in nine passes for 172 yards and the three scores.
“It’s been a long time since our program has won a playoff game so you just want to find a way to get the W,” Penner said. “Obviously a big part of that was trying to get the ball in Drake’s hands.”
Miller passed for 235 yards for Solon as the Spartans were limited to 44 rushing yards on 29 carries.
Coons had three receptions for 96 yards and junior Seamus Poynton caught three passes for 85 yards.
“We had to kind of abandon our game plan offensively and we had to throw it when we really wanted to try to mix it up and we couldn’t do that,” Kevin Miller said. “When you are at that point that’s when bad things happen.”
The Solon seniors close their careers with a 9-1 season and a 20-2 mark over the past two years.
“I’m proud of our team,” Miller said. “I’m proud of our seniors and they the leadership they have provided for our program we just ran into a very good football team."
First downs 12 16
Rushes-yards 29-44 29-118
Comp-Att-Int 17-31-1 14-20-0
Passing yards 235 283
Total yards 279 401
Punts-Avg. 5-38.6 4-35.8
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Penalties-yards 13-140 4-30
WD – Drake George 18 pass from Calvin Harris (Gabe Ulrichs kick)
WD – George 71 pass from Harris (Ulrichs kick)
WD – Jake Hosch 1 run (Ulrichs kick)
SOL – Clay Gerdin 6 pass (Kick failed)
WD – Harris 4 run (Ulrichs kick)
SOL – Coal Flansburg 1 run (Cael O’Neill kick)
WD – Hosch 1 run (Ulrichs kick)
WD – Hosch 4 run (Ulrichs kick)
WD – George 8 pass from Harris (Kick failed)
RUSHING – SOL: Adam Bock 12-24, Seamus Poynton 1-18, Hunter Kula 2-8, Dillon Hoit 1-8, Coal Flansburg 1-1, Cam Miller 12-(-10). WD: Jake Hosch 22-104, Calvin Harris 5-6, Drake George 2-8.
PASSING – SOL: Cam Miller 17-31-1 235. WD: Calvin Harris 14-20-0 283
RECEIVING – SOL: AJ Coons 3-96, Seamus Poynton 3-85, Dillon Hoit 4-28, Colton Spillman 2-12, Adam Bock 3-7, Clay Gerdin 1-6, Aidan Dall 1-1. WD: Drake George 9-172, Jake Hosch 3-49, Payton Quagliano 2-61.