Photo by Rob Howe
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – As Solon put the finishing touches on a 24-0 quarterfinal win over Pella Michael Broghammer wasn’t sure how to feel.
Standing on the sideline in sweatpants in the bitter cold Broghammer went through an emotional gauntlet that ranged from excitement to nervous from elation to disappointment watching his teammates lock up a trip to the state semifinals at the UNI-Dome.
A two-way starter on both Solon lines Broghammer left the quarterfinal game in the first half with a knee injury that he believed he already knew the severity of.
“When it happened I immediately thought I was done for the season,” Broghammer said. “I felt it bend weird and I was really worried.”
So Broghammer watched the second half from the sideline cycling through emotions as Solon secured a its second trip to the 3A semifinals in three seasons.
“Watching that and not knowing was hard,” Broghammer said. “I was so excited we were going to the Dome but at the same time I was really nervous that I wouldn’t be able to play.”
A little more than 12 hours after the injury Broghammer got another emotional swing when an examination revealed he avoided major structural damage.
Less than a week after fearing his prep career was over Broghammer made 2.5 tackles and had a key sack to help Solon to a 43-36 come-from-behind win over Sergeant Bluff-Luton that sent the Spartans to the state title game for the first time since 2010.
This time as Solon celebrated the win Broghammer had just one emotion – elation.
“It was an incredible feeling to be able to come back and play in that game,” Broghammer said. “It’s amazing because you get that guarantee that you get another game to play. That was the most exciting part.”
The return of Broghammer, even at less than 100 percent, was a major boost for Solon in its semifinal win.
Second-ranked Solon (12-0) is happy to have the services of its senior leader in the trenches when it faces top-ranked and defending 3A runner-up Western Dubuque in the 3A title game on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.
“He’s probably our most vocal leader on our team,” Solon coach Kevin Miller said. “He’s done a great job and been a catalyst for both our offensive and defensive lines for sure.”
A two-year starter, Broghammer has been the anchor on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Spartans this season.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder ranks sixth on the team with 23.5 tackles as a defensive tackle.
“There is no doubt about it he has improved vastly from his junior year to his senior year,” Miller said. “It’s not just the things that he does on the field his leadership has been instrumental in our success this year.”
With three junior starters along the offensive line the leadership from Broghammer has been even more important on that side of the ball.
“Every week we keep improving, we just keep getting a lot better each week,” Broghammer said. “We learn more from coach (Brad) Wymer and coach Miller every week and that just lets us play a lot better.”
The Solon offensive line has played its best at the perfect time.
After averaging 154 rushing yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry during the regular season the Solon offensive front has paved the way for the Spartans to rush for 211 yards a game on 5.4 yards per carry in three playoff wins.
Solon posted its two highest rushing totals of the season in its first two playoff wins and averaged a postseason-high six yards per carry in its semifinal win over Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
“I think they have gotten better there is no question about it,” Miller said. We have rushed the football through these last three games as well as we throughout the course of the year against better teams so I think that says something about their growth up front.”
The Broghammer-led Solon lines with each get their toughest test of the season on Thursday from Western Dubuque.
Last season the Bobcats held Solon to 58 rushing yards on 28 carries in a 48-13 win in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Meanwhile the Western Dubuque offense rushed for 118 yards while rolling up 403 total yards.
Broghammer believes the gap that existed up front between the two teams a year ago has been closed.
“The whole season our coaches have put an emphasis on running the ball this time of the year,” Broghammer said. “It’s been working.”
Did you enjoy this subscription free article? Help keep Your Prep Sports free by becoming a member.