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Solon Spartans tame Independence Mustangs, 37-21

Road to the UNI-Dome travels through Waukon

SOLON– The Solon Spartan varsity football team broke the Independence Mustangs 37-21 in Spartan Stadium on Friday, Oct. 30, advancing to meet the Waukon Indians, in Waukon on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m., in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
The Spartans jumped out to a first quarter lead, 6-0, on a 14-yard run by Jackson Ryan, but the extra point was blocked.
A little less than seven minutes into the second quarter, Ryan scampered five yards to score again for Solon and Brent Lumpkin found success on the point-after to elevate the Spartans to a 13-0 lead.
During the Spartans’ next possession, quarterback Blake Timmons found receiver Colton Hoffman on the first play for a 49-yard strike to the end zone, and Lumpkin’s leg delivered again. The Spartans held a 20-0 lead that extended to halftime.
Any momentum Independence hoped to gain in the second half quickly collapsed as Solon’s defense forced them into a three-and-out.
Solon turned the defensive success into points, manufacturing an impressive 62-yard, 12-play drive culminating in a five-yard Timmons run punctuated with a Lumpkin kick to deliver a 27-0 Spartan lead and gobbling a little over seven minutes.
Independence finally mustered a bit of retaliation, as Mustang quarterback Mitchell Johnson found Jake Sidles with a 57-yard strike with less than two minutes remaining in the third for a score. Independence’s Sawyer Wendling found success with the point-after and the Mustangs made it on the scoreboard, trailing Solon, 27-7.
With 12 minutes remaining in one team’s season, the Spartans started the fourth quarter facing a second and five on their 32. The Spartans consumed a little less than four minutes of the quarter before settling for a 21-yard Lumpkin field goal. Solon led, 30-7.
The Mustangs found the end zone on their next drive as a series of penalties by the Spartans put them in position for Marcus Beatty to reel in a toss from Johnson. A failed two-point conversion rush left the Mustangs trailing, 30-13.
Timmons responded by connecting with Hoffman again for 40 yards and another Spartan score. Lumpkin delivered his kick, pushing Solon out ahead, 37-13.
The Mustangs’ Beatty finally found an opportunity to break free from the Spartans’ defense and scrambled for 33 yards for a touchdown. Independence’s Keegan Schmitt pulled in a pass for the two-point conversion for the final score of the game.
“Indee is a young team that plays really, really hard,” Head Coach Lucas Stanton assessed. “Defensively, we got about what we expected from them. They knew they couldn't quite match our physicality, so they really tried to take our (offensive linemen’s) legs out and create piles. Their offensive game plan was exactly what we had seen and what we expected.
“They want the ball in (Marcus) Beatty's hands and our plan was to make them beat us with someone else,” Coach Stanton summarized. “We feel we achieved that goal for the most part throughout the game.”
Solon limited Beatty to just 23 yards in the first half and allowed him to finish the game with just 83 yards on 17 carries, a far cry from his average of 205 rushing yards per game, ranked third in Class 2A, coming into the game.
“Our offense, scoring on that first possession, was huge for setting the tone,” Coach Stanton stated. “But, really what I feel was the biggest bright spot, was the defensive line play. Our guys kept our linebackers pretty clean all night and did what they were supposed to do. I think what really sealed it for us was the interception in the second quarter by Jackson, then scoring on the very next play. We really stole momentum early and just never gave it back.
“Just really proud of all of the guys on both sides of the ball and how they really played for the team and each other.”
The Spartans held Independence to just 11 first downs and contained quarterback Mitchell Johnson’s aerial assault to eight completions on 19 attempts and one interception. Independence was limited to just 205 total yards.
The Spartans committed 13 penalties for a loss of 125 total yards versus Independence’s three for just 24 yards.
Timmons completed nine of 12 passing for 172 yards and two touchdowns, hitting Hoffman for receiving scores. He also called his own number, carrying the ball 12 times for 69 yards and one rushing touchdown. He was credited for one solo tackle, as well.
Ryan rushed 23 times for the Spartans, amassing 121 total yards and two touchdowns while pulling in a 7-yard pass from Timmons. Ryan also had 2.5 total tackles including two solos, and intercepted the ball once.
Carson Miller carried the ball for Solon five times for 29 yards and pulled in a pass from Timmons for eight yards. Miller had two solo tackles.
Hoffman reeled in four receptions for 122 total yards and two touchdowns and had one carry for a loss of two yards. He recorded 2.5 total tackles including two solos and participated in a sack.
Hayden Taylor got six touches rushing for 19 yards while recording three total tackles, including two solos and participated in a sack, and Sean Stahle carried the ball three times for a total of a yard loss.
Logan Sieverding caught two of Timmon’s tosses for 29 yards.
Carson Shive led the Spartans defensive production with six total tackles, including five solo tackles, one sack and one for a loss. Ben Cusick recorded 3.5 total tackles with three of them solos, one a sack and one for loss. Austin Quaintance recorded two solo tackles; Josh Olney and Ethan Swan each had 1.5 tackles apiece with one of swans a solo; Brock Reimers, Danny Knezevich, Jacob Timmons, Will Noonan, Kinnick Pusteoska, Brady Mullen, Parker Pentico and Cayden Knipper each credited with one solo tackle apiece; and Brody Kerkoff, Erich Karsten and Zach Harp participated in a tackle.
Spartan Activities Director Casey Hack, perched on the sideline monitoring the Waukon Indians versus the Monticello Panthers game score, alluded to the Spartans traveling to Waukon following the Indians’ victory in the other half of Solon’s pod for determining a quarterfinal opponent. He referred to Solon’s early losses as the tipping factor in having to travel to Waukon.
“Our mentality is we embrace the challenge and honor the opportunity to have the chance to beat a quality opponent on their field,” Stanton noted. “Preparation during the week doesn't change. We plan to leave early enough to make a stop halfway to do a walkthrough, that way we can break that trip up a little bit. Our team energy will be just fine. I hope Spartan Nation will make the trip up to see us play!”
Solon travels to Waukon to face the Indians, in Waukon, on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in the IHSAA Class 2A quarterfinals.

“Offensively, they will run a lot of different formations and motions, but essentially run just a few schemes,” Coach Stanton reviewed. “They do run the ball well and have a quarterback in Creed Welch who will keep plays alive for them. He is a really nice player as are No. 20 (Ethan O’Neill) and No. 11 (Lincoln Snitker). Those two guys anchor their defense playing linebackers with (O’Neill) sometimes playing some defensive end. We need to continue to take care of the ball and control the game. I'm confident if our defense plays like they should, we'll be right where we want to be. I like our chances with the defensive line and offensive line we have.”