Photo by Rob Howe
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – The conditions for Solon’s Class 3A postseason opener against Liberty High last week were less than ideal in the eyes of most football players.
Freezing temperatures and rain showers made for a tough evening for offensive production and an even tougher time for spectators.
For Solon junior middle linebacker Carson Shive it was football heaven.
“Playing on a night like that, with the rain and against a physical team that likes the run the ball, I love playing in games like that,” Shive said. “I look forward to that type of game.”
The combination of inclement weather, a powerful run-oriented opponent and the playoffs brought out the best in Shive who made a team-high 8.5 tackles in his postseason debut.
Shive had four solo tackles among his 8.5 stops as Solon advanced to the Class 3A quarterfinals with a 14-7 win.
“He’s a throwback middle linebacker type where if you run iso and power that’s the stuff he eats up,” Solon coach Kevin Miller said. “He is the type of guy when he sees the fullback leading he is going to meet him on the other side of the line of scrimmage.”
The matchup with a Liberty High squad that entered the postseason averaging 273 rushing yards per game was ready-made for the 6-foot, 200-pound Shive.
With Shive leading the way from his linebacker spot Solon held Liberty High to season lows in rushing yards (145), total yards (199) and points while improving to 10-0 on the season.
“All week we talked about attacking, that was a mindset that we wanted to take into that game,” Shive said. “It was a really big task for us in stopping their run, that was their biggest strength and we were able to stop that and get the win.”
The 8.5 tackles against Liberty High was just off a career-high for Shive who had nine stops in week four against Davenport Assumption, another power run team.
It was the fifth game of the season for Shive with six or more tackles and the third time the junior posted at least eight stops.
“He’s just a hard-nosed, tough type of a linebacker that makes our football team better,” Miller said. “He just patrols everything inside and he’s smart and he understands what we are trying to do on defense schematically as well.”
Before he could become a stalwart in the middle of the Spartan defense Shive had to prepare himself for the rigors of varsity football.
That started with an offseason dedicated to getting bigger, strong and perhaps mostly importantly tougher.
“Toughness that is the biggest thing,” Shive said. “Coach has preached toughness all year starting with weight lifting last winter. It’s been about being tough and being physical and dominating on defense.”
Shive put on more than 30 pounds during the offseason and has had an immediate impact in his first season at the varsity level.
The junior ranks second on the team with 55 tackles and 17 solo stops and has also picked off a pass.
“He’s a prime example of if you buy into the process of gaining weight and developing yourself physically you can get to that point where he is at,” Miller said. “He did exactly what we asked him to do to get to where he needs to be to be an outstanding middle linebacker.”
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