Your Prep Sports
CEDAR FALLS – Solon showed some of its new school flash on offense in its return to the Class 3A semifinals on Thursday throwing for more than 300 yards with a wide-open, spread attack.
With the game on the line it was the same old school traits that built Solon into a perennial power that helped the Spartans return to the state title game.
Second-ranked Solon came up with a pair of late defensive stops and rolled up 66 rushing yards on the game-winning drive to outlast No. 7 Sergeant Bluff-Luton 43-36 in a Class 3A semifinal at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.
“We just played tough, physical Solon football,” Solon senior quarterback Cam Miller said. “Solon hasn’t been to a championship in nine years and just to bring our town together like this it’s just unbelievable.”
In a game that featured a combined 67 pass attempts and more than 600 yards through the air it was defense and an old-fashioned power running game that have Solon headed to the state title game for the first time since 2010.
Cam Miller threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns and Sergeant Bluff-Luton senior Daniel Wright passed for 319 yards but it was a late surge from the Solon defense and running game that was the difference.
Seamus Poynton scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 19-yard run with 1:04 left and Lucas TePoel tipped away a Wright pass in the end zone as time expired to secure the win.
Solon (12-0) will face top-ranked Western Dubuque (12-0) in the 3A title game on Thursday at 7 p.m.
“How our kids responded I just couldn’t be more proud,” Solon coach Kevin Miller said. “It was a great team effort, our kids showed a great deal of moxie and resiliency when the chips were down and to be a championship football team you have to overcome the various adversity that we did tonight.”
The back and forth affair featured nearly 900 yards of total offense, one punt from each team and only five possessions (three by Sergeant Bluff-Luton and two by Solon) that didn’t end with points.
Solon scored on the first play from scrimmage on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Miller to AJ Coons and led 28-23 after an opening half that saw both teams get points on all four of their possessions.
“It’s the best game I’ve ever been a part of,” Solon senior Jace Andregg said. “It was just back and forth the entire game.”
Sergeant Bluff-Luton took its first lead of the game on Deric Fitzergald 1-yard TD run less than two minutes into the second half.
The Warriors led 36-28 when Cory Bates dove into the end zone with 7:41 left.
Solon responded with a 6-play, 79-yard drive that took just two minutes and was capped by a 40-yard scoring strike from Miller to Andregg.
“In the third quarter our offense had some adversity but we stepped up and played our game in the fourth quarter,” Cam Miller said. “We were able to come back when we needed to.”
The touchdown cut the lead to 36-34 and Solon tied the game with a two-point conversion play in which Andregg took the handoff from Miller on an end around and tossed to junior receiver Lucas TePoel on a reverse.
TePoel pulled up and threw a strike to Miller all alone in the end zone to pull the Spartans even with 5:41 left.
“We put that in for Pella and we didn’t have to use it against them,” Cam Miller said. “Once I got the call I just said ‘alright I just have to catch it’ because I knew it was going to be there.”
The Solon defense came up big the rest of the way.
Solon forced the only Sergeant Bluff-Luton punt with a three-and-out on the ensuing possession as senior Michael Broghammer came up with a sack of Wright on third-and-16.
“Honestly we didn’t really change anything, during the regular season we were down twice at half and we were able to come back and tonight our defense really pulled it out,” Andregg said of the defensive effort in the fourth quarter. “We didn’t change anything. We just did our game plan, executed and stuck to it.”
Solon took over at its own 20 with 4:06 left and made a statement type of drive, marching 80 yards in seven plays for the go-ahead touchdown.
The final three plays of the drive were Poynton runs that resulted in 54 yards as the senior tailback put Solon up with a 19-yard touchdown run with 64 seconds left.
“That’s a credit to our offensive lineman,” Coons said. “They battled all game and at the end of the game they outplayed the defensive line and made holes for Seamus to run through and we were able to chew up clock. That drive was huge.”
The Solon defense had to stand up one more time to preserve the win.
Wright marched the Warriors to the Solon 11 yard line with five seconds left but his final pass into the end zone was tipped away by TePoel as time expired.
“We knew they were going to pass so he just told us to rush straight and as soon as I turned around I saw the ball go high out of the back of the end zone,” Andregg said. “I think it was Lucas TePoel who got the tip on it. It was great to see us stand up and make a play.”
Wright completed 33 of 45 passes for 319 yards for Sergeant Bluff-Luton which had a 10-game winning streak snapped with the loss.
“Sergeant Bluff-Luton is an outstanding football team I give them all the credit,” Kevin Miller said. “They played outstanding they had a great play offensively, they executed at a high level and their kids play hard so I just have to give them a lot of credit.”
Miller was 15-of-21 passing for 310 yards and four touchdowns and also rushed for 46 yards and a score while Poynton had 91 of his 119 rushing yards in the second half.
Coons caught four passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns while Andregg had eight receptions for 160 yards and a score.
“I’m just really happy for our kids and for our coaches,” Kevin Miller said. “I know how much they put into this and how much they sacrifice so I’m just happy for all of them.”
SOL – AJ Coons 65 pass from Cam Miller (Cael O’Neill kick)
SBL – David Clausen 25 field goal
SOL – Coons 43 pass from Miller (O’Neill kick)
SBL – Cory Bates 7 run (Kick blocked)
SOL – Coons 7 pass from Miller (O’Neill kick)
SBL – Ashton VerDoorn 28 pass from Daniel Wright (Clausen kick)
SOL – Miller 1 run (O’Neill kick)
SBL – Carter Schumacher 32 pass from Wright (Clausen kick)
SBL – Deric Fitzergald 1 run (Pass failed)
SBL – Bates 2 run (Clausen kick)
SOL – Jace Andregg 40 pass from Miller (Miller pass from Lucas TePoel)
SOL – Seamus Poynton 19 run (O’Neill kick)
RUSHING – SOL: Seamus Poynton 12-119, Cam Miller 14-46. SBL: Cory Bates 20-102, Jacob Imming 2-2, Deric Fitzgerald 3-(-2), Daniel Wright 3-(-3).
PASSING – SOL: Cam Miller 15-21-0 310. SBL: Daniel Wright 33-46-1 319.
RECEIVING – SOL: Jace Andregg 8-160, AJ Coons 4-130, Seamus Poynton 2-13, Jackson Ryan 1-7. SBL: Carter Schumacher 10-101, Deric Fitzgerald 9-61, Jacob Imming 8-96, Ashton VerDoorn 3-52, Cory Bates 2-1, Ben Freiberg 1-8.
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