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Spartans host Oelwein Friday for 2nd round football playoff

Run-heavy Huskies to challenge Solon defense

SOLON– The Spartans’ Friday, Oct. 23, foe was determined Friday, Oct. 16, as the Oelwein Huskies smacked the South Tama Trojans, 42-28, advancing to compete against Solon following the Spartan’s first-round bye.
Oelwein, 3-5 following the victory, got a late start trailing in the first, 14-0, but came back scoring 14 in each of the three remaining quarters to wrest the victory from South Tama.
The Huskies’ senior quarterback Jacob King completed 2-4, passing for 15 yards to senior receiver Carsen Jeanes, throwing one interception. Five players rushed with the ball, carrying it a total of 63 times for 514 yards in the victory. Oelwein senior Gage Voshell handled the ball on 39 of the carries, amassing 385 yards.
Spartan Head Coach Lucas Stanton indicated he really did not favor one opponent over the other in regard to Solon’s preparation but gave a nod to planning to exploit specific opportunities and make specialized adjustments for win-or-go-home football.
“We knew with both South Tama and Oelwein they both like to run the ball a lot,” Coach Stanton reflected on the outcome. “Oelwein is more of a Wing-T team, so it’s just two different schemes to prepare for. Yeah, I think now, especially at this time of year, you want to have some tendency breakers in the game plan and a few things specific for the opponent.”
It stacks up to be a ground-and-pound affair rumbling toward the Spartans.
Solon rushed the ball a total of 305 times thus far this season, amassing 1,895 total yards on the ground, a pretty even match to the Huskies, who accrued 410 total carries for 1,940 total yards on the ground.
We need to find a way to slow down their fullback, who rushed for 383 yards,” Coach Stanton acknowledged. “He is a hard-nosed player who will be lead. We need to be the team that controls the game and not let them.”
The Spartans completed 40 of 75 passes thus far this season for 715 total yards with sophomore quarterback Blake Timmons responsible for 39 completions on 73 of the total passes. Timmons’ favorite target thus far this season has been senior Colton Hoffman, pulling in 18 of the passes for 405 receiving yards.
Meanwhile, Oelwein utilized three quarterbacks to complete 28 of 65 passes, with King responsible for 26 completions on 59 of the total passes. King hit Jeanes eight times for 49 passing yards, but Huskie seniors Spencer Logan and Gage Voshell have four catches for 88 yards and two catches for 54 yards, respectively, on the season.
The Spartan defense amassed 331 total tackles this season with 259 of them solo tackles, 14 of them sacks and 51.5 of the tackles for a loss versus the Huskies’ 342 total tackles this season, 243 of them solo tackles, seven of them sacks and 33 of the tackles for a loss.
“They are big on both sides of the ball,” Coach Stanton commented on Oelwein. “Their defense has shown a few different fronts, but for the most part they run a 3-4/5-2 defense. They will be a good challenge for our guys up front.”
Both teams appear equal in regards to fumble recoveries with Solon edging the Huskies with six to Oelwein’s five. The Spartans intercepted opponents four times by three different players with Spartan junior Partker Pentico returning one for 20 yards, while Oelwein’s eight interceptions are courtesy of five players for 40 total return yards, the biggest return 14 yards courtesy of Huskie senior Isaac Opperman.
Coach Stanton refused to reveal any real modifications to the Spartans’ preparation, referencing his coaching staff’s ability to adjust.
“We will do what we do in our preparation,” he emphasized. “And continue to focus on getting better, while putting together a great game plan. Our staff does a phenomenal job in scouting and putting together a plan.”
Coach Stanton had no injury update for his team.
“This is just this time of year where all teams get dinged up,” he said. “Some teams more than others. I don’t think there is a coach or team out there that would try to get some guys fresh over a bye week. We will know more as this week progresses on some of our injuries. Nothing too major to report on.”
Coach Stanton praised the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s (IHSAA) approach to the playoffs in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think the way they set it up is that you will probably get pretty close to the field of teams you would have got in a 32- or 16-team playoff,” he commented. “I think our state did a pretty good job in setting up the best options for us considering how the last five-six months went.”
Following the Friday, Oct. 23, games the Class 2A pods will be redrawn ahead of the third round, according to IAHSAA Class 2A playoff information.
Coach Stanton was also proud of the position the Spartan varsity football team found itself in following the regular season.
“Yes, I feel really good about the position we are in. We have to have a great week of preparation and I’ll feel even better,” he said.
Coach Stanton praised the Spartans’ good fortune claiming the District 6 championship and the first-round bye to meet Oelwein at home. Second-round play commences at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23, as the Solon Spartans (5-2) square off against the Oelwein Huskies (3-5) in Spartan Stadium.
“I think there is always an advantage to playing at home in front of your home crowd,” Coach Stanton added. “We get great crowds in Solon, even with COVID-19 restrictions, and our program appreciates that very much. We can’t wait to see all the fans in Spartan Stadium Friday night.”