• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

Spartans lead Class 3A District 6

Six weeks in, Solon on top

MOUNT PLEASANT– Almost to the beckoning of the machine shed mantra south of Solon on Highway 1, the Solon Spartans football team de-pounced the Panthers, at the Mapleleaf Complex in Mount Pleasant on Friday, Oct. 11, in grand fashion, to the tune of 35-14, remaining unbeaten through week seven of the season and claiming its 36th consecutive regular season win.
It has been a season of two types of games for the Spartans, either they come from behind in the second half after a slow start to triumph or they come out and establish dominance from the get-go. This week, it was a Spartan performance of the latter.
“Overall we had a good week of practice in preparation for a fine Mount Pleasant club. For the first time this year, we assembled a complete game where we executed well in every phase of the game,” Spartan Head Coach Kevin Miller commented following the win.
“Mount Pleasant had a solid offensive game plan and executed it well from time to time,” he continued. “However, once our defense settled in, we were able to slow them down.”
Coach Miller went on to acknowledge the offensive performance, “Offensively, we were very balanced with our ground game and passing attack.”
Spartan senior Jace Andregg put Solon on the board during its first possession in the first quarter, with a four-yard carry and a Cael O’Neill extra point. At the end of the first quarter, the Spartans silenced the Panthers, 7-0. Mount Pleasant was unable to stop Solon in the second quarter, either, Senior Seamus Poynton bounded in on a eight-yard carry to give Solon a 14-0 advantage with about nine minutes remaining in the first half and about seven minutes later delivered another drive to give the Spartans a 21-0 lead at the half, both point-after attempts (PATs) good courtesy of senior O’Neill.
Solon senior quarterback Cam Miller threw for 193 yards and rushed for 74 yards in the game, scoring twice in the second half for the Spartans to hand the Mount Pleasant Panthers a 35-14 defeat and secure their position atop Class 3A District 6.
This is not to say the defense simply showed up and did its job in limiting the Panthers to simply 14 points; they produced three turnovers. Solon junior Carson Shive and senior A.J. Coons grabbed an interception apiece while the kicking team delivered a special teams turnover, recovering a botched return to set up Solon’s final score of the game.
“I thought we played well as a defense,” Coach Miller elaborated. “We gave up some first downs and yardage early, but settled in and performed admirably well. We need to continue to improve fundamentally and schematically as a defense. We've improved dramatically since the beginning of the year.”
He continued commending the offensive performance against Mount Pleasant.
“I thought the offensive line as a whole had their best performance to date. They did an outstanding job of opening running lanes for our backs,” he remarked. “We didn’t have any significant big plays, however, we were able to sustain drives.”
The prognostications began Thursday, Oct. 10, as prep football articles reported on the possible football playoff pairings, through week six, based upon the Iowa High School Athletic Associations (IHSAA) first installment of RPI pairings released on Monday, Oct. 7, for at-large bids for the playoffs.
The new RPI method allows for one team per district an automatic berth, if two teams tie, the head-to-head receives the berth or in the case of a three-way knot, the best RPI gets it automatically. If two teams are comparable in the final RPI, and they faced off during the regular season, the winner gets the better seed.
District champs get priority in seeding and hosting in the first round, however in the quarterfinals, it is moot, and a high RPI receives home-field advantage no matter their district finish.
The IHSAA makes reasonable effort to avoid first-round matches between teams of the same district and to come fairly close to true seeding using common sense regarding geography. (First versus 16th, second versus 15th, etc.)
Come the semifinals at the UNI-Dome, the brackets are reseeded. Reseeding is based upon four brackets with four teams each.
There will not be an East versus West championship game.
Based upon the guidelines, the BC Moore computer projected outcome for the final three weeks and the results provided for the Spartans by the IHSAA projected the Spartans as the Class 3A District 6 champs and ranked third, predicted to face projected No. 14 Davenport Assumption, in Solon, with the winner to meet the winner of a possible game between Western Dubuque projected No. 11 at North Scott, projected No. 8.
Next up for Solon is Keokuk, though, in week eight of the season, and the Spartans’ focus is one week at a time. Solon hosts the Keokuk Chiefs at Spartan Stadium on Friday, Oct. 18, for Senior Night, with kickoff at 7 p.m., the last regular season home game.
The Chiefs enter Spartan Stadium with a 5-2 record on the season, with wins over Davis County, 26-7; Burlington, 47-20; West Burlington, 21-6; Centerville, 49-13; and Fairfield, 61-0. Their two losses come courtesy of Washington, 49-6, and Mount Pleasant, 47-7. They enter Spartan Stadium undoubtedly emboldened by their Week 7, 61-0 triumph over Fairfield, whom the Spartans visit to end the regular season in Week 9.
“The season has flown by,” Coach Miller reflected. “I can’t believe we are preparing for our eighth game of the year. I’ve enjoyed coaching this group of young men.
“I can’t believe it’s senior night and I’m sure it will be an emotional night for all involved,” he added.
“We’re focused on Keokuk and our collective improvement,” he said, his focus changed. “We still believe our best football is ahead of us. Our focus will continue to be to develop our players’ skills and fundamentals.”
Keokuk is vastly improved, he added.
“We’ll concentrate on having a productive week of practice and gearing up to finish strong,” Coach Miller noted. “I do feel like we’ve been battled tested this year and those games should serve us well moving forward.”
The Spartans (7-0) visit the Fairfield Trojans, currently 0-7, on Friday, Oct. 25, for their final regular season game, with varsity kick off at 7:30 p.m.