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Spartans tether Huskies, 41-12

Solon faces Independence Oct. 30
Solon's Colton Hoffman pulls down Oelwein's Duncan Tripp as fellow defenders Cayden Knipper, Zach Harp, Logan Sieverding, Carson Shive, Jackson Ryan and Parker Pentico collapse upon the ball carrier during the Spartans' 41-12 Class 2A playoff game victory over the Huskies at Spartan Stadium on Friday, Oct. 23.

SOLON Solon is on a streak, six straight wins following its 41-12 defeat of the Oelwein Huskies on Friday, Oct. 23, at Spartan Stadium, in the second round of the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Class 2A football playoffs.
The victory puts the Spartans (6-2) on a collision course to host the Independence Mustangs (6-1) on Friday, Oct. 30, at Spartan Stadium with kickoff at 7 p.m.
The Spartans capitalized on an 81-yard, special team kickoff return for score by Sean Stahle to capture the lead and momentum against Oelwein. A successful Brent Lumpkin point-after attempt (PAT) followed and Solon led, 7-0, within just 14 ticks of the game clock.
Spartan Head Coach Lucas Stanton felt the kick return at home in front of the Spartan Nation helped give Solon the games momentum.
Getting that big play right away gave us the momentum right away and we felt like we never looked back, he said.
A mishandle by the Oelwein Huskies on the ensuing squib kick by the Spartans gave the Solon its second possession of the game on the fumble recovery, with less than 20 seconds expired in game time. The Spartans capitalized before the end of the first quarter and scored again as quarterback Blake Timmons scrambled 26 yards, for the most part untouched, for another score with a little over 2:30 remaining that had several of the Huskies defenders throwing their arms up in frustration. The ensuing kick failed but Solon carried the 13-0 lead to the end of the first quarter as the stout Spartan defense kept the Huskies scoreless.
Offensively, we felt like one of the keys early was capitalizing on the early turnover by them on their first possession, Stanton said. That was a good job of our defense and offense of keeping that momentum.
A collective gasp of concern was audible from the Oelwein side of the stadium as the Huskies senior running back Gage Voshell left the game a little more than two minutes before the end of the half under the assistance of trainers, not to return to the game.
Stanton praised the Huskies game plan but conceded the loss of Voshell may have affected their performance.
He was a great runner, he noted. They did some things to take away one of our base runs but we feel like we capitalized on what they gave us outside.
In the second quarter, Solons defense bowed up and held Oelwein scoreless for another quarter while the offense orchestrated two more scores. The Spartans struck on a three-yard run by Jackson Ryan, capped by a Lumpkin kick, with a little more than 8:30 remaining in the half for a 20-0 lead. Colton Hoffman reeled in a pass from Timmons for 38 yards, scampering across the goal with 2:55 remaining and Lumpkin split the uprights for Solons 27-0 halftime lead.
The Spartans maintained the pressure. adding another score in the third quarter on a 13-yard run by Carson Miller and Lumpkin was good on the PAT to deliver a 34-0 lead before the Spartans allowed Oelwein a score. Oelweins Isaac Opperman found the end zone on a 16-yard run but the two-point conversion was unsuccessful. As the third quarter expired, Solon led 34-6.
Solons Hayden Taylor visited the end zone on a one-yard dash for the Spartans and Lumpkins kick capped Solons scoring in the game for a 41-6 lead before Oelweins Opperman scored. The ensuing two point conversion was denied by the Spartan defense. The horn sounded and Solon emerged victorious, 41-12.
Timmons was 9-14 passing for 157 yards including a touchdown and was intercepted twice for the Spartans. Oelwein senior Jacob King was 2-3 passing for 18 yards and no touchdowns.
The Spartans rushed 29 times for 149 yards and four touchdowns in the 41-12 victory versus the Huskies 52 carries for 262 yards and two touchdowns.
Timmons carried the ball himself five times for 57 yards and one touchdown, while Carson Miller carried the ball five times for 32 yards and his touchdown. Ryan handled the ball 10 times recording 20 yards including his touchdown, Taylor had five touches for 18 yards and his touchdown, Stahle got a hold of the ball twice for nine yards, and Hoffman and Kinnick Pusteoska each recorded a carry for 15 yards and a loss of two, respectively.
Hoffman grabbed five of the balls thrown his way, racking up 119 yards and a touchdown, Miller reeled in three passes from Timmons for 22 yards and Ben Cusick caught one for 16 yards.
Defensively, Solon accrued 68 total tackles, 56 of them solos and 7.5 tackles for loss, to the Huskies 42.5 total tackles, 29 of them solos, one sack and 3.5 for loss.
Carson Shive led the Spartans defensive performance with 10.5 total tackles, eight of them solos and one for loss. Jacob Timmons wrapped up 5.5 total tackles with five of them solos; Lucas Kampman and Ben Cusick were responsible for 4.5 tackles apiece, each of them credited for four solos; Hoffman and Ryan were responsible for four solo tackles apiece; and Austin Quaintance, Gage Marty, Cayden Knipper and Ethan Swan recorded 3.5 tackles total apiece- Quaintance, Marty and Swan three solos each and Cayden Knipper had two solos. Taylor, Austin Schwake, Brandon Hoit, Oliver Burns and Nash Altman all recorded two total tackles apiece- both of Schwakes, Hoits, Burns and Altmans were solos. Miller recorded a tackle and a half total with one a solo; Brock Reimers, Danny Knezevich, Will Noonan, Parker Pentico, Brody Kerkoff, Jackson Clevenger, Erich Karsten and Zach Harp were responsible for one tackle apiece- all of them solos with Harps a solo for loss. Logan Sieverding and Josh Olney were both credited for participating in a tackle.
Shive was responsible for two fumble recoveries and Harp was credited with one fumble recovery.
Stahle had two kick returns for 106 total yards including the 81-yard return for score and one punt return for 54 yards. Ryan returned two punts for 17 yards and Harp handled one for 10 yards.
The triumph by the Spartans moved them to 6-2 for the season, while relegating the Huskies departure from the playoffs with a final season record of 6-3.
The Spartans committed seven penalties in the game for 55 yards while the Huskies committed five penalties amassing 40 yards.
That is the expectation, Stanton observed. That we make a playoff run and we like where we are but we haven't reached our goal yet. I think a huge part in our success was we refused to let that 0-2 start define this team. Our kids and coaches have been phenomenal all year. We talk a lot about the process and that is exactly what this team has done up to this point. We overcame a lot of adversity early.... some of which a lot teams have been going through just with the COVID situation, derecho, me being new and not getting a regular summer to get to know our kids. I think once the trust was there, things really started to mesh. I think there is a perception when a new coach comes in, he always changes everything. We really haven't changed a whole lot in all honesty.
Following the Saturday, Oct. 24, shake up of the 16 remaining teams into PODs by the IHSAA, the Spartans find themselves destined to host the Independence Mustangs (6-1) on Friday, Oct. 30, at Spartan Stadium, with the winner to advance against either the Monticello Panthers (6-1) or the Waukon Indians (6-1), on Friday, Nov. 6.
I think the pod seeding turned out just fine, Stanton noted. At some point you have to play the best of the best and our mentality is we will play anyone anywhere.
The Independence Mustangs visit Spartan Stadium following wins over Center Point-Urbana (34-7) Oelwein (34-0), North Fayette (46-34), New Hampton (12-7), Roland-Story (50-8) and Iowa Falls-Alden (44-9). The lone loss was to Camanche, 42-18.
The Mustangs Sept. 18 Homecoming game versus Crestwood and Sept. 25 Senior/Parent Night game against Waukon were cancelled during the regular season.
The season stats for both teams reflect a tick up in the level of competition for win-or-go-home football.
The Spartans are 49-89 passing for 872 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions thus far this season paired against Independences 61-119 passing for 1,088 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Solon rushed 334 times amassing 2,044 yards and 25 rushing TDs. The Mustangs ran 266 times accruing 1,594 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, the Spartans amassed 399 total tackles, 315 of them solo, 14 of them sacks and 59 of them tackles for loss, while recovering nine fumbles and intercepting opponents four times. Independence has 345 total tackles, 195 of them solo, 6.5 of them sacks and 27 of them tackles for loss, while recovering seven fumbles and intercepting opponents nine times.
Indy has a very good (running back) and they do some very nice things offensively, Coach Stanton assessed. Defensively they are well coached... they are disciplined and fundamentally sound. They really haven't shown much change on defense... they stay pretty static and vanilla but do what they do well.