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Spartan football season still a success

MANCHESTER– Even though the season ended for the Solon football team prior to the championship game, there’s no arguing the success of the 2014 campaign.
The Spartans ended the year 9-2 after losing to West Delaware 28-14 in a second round 3A playoff game on a soggy field in Manchester Nov. 3.
Solon had a 14-12 halftime lead but was held scoreless in the second half.
“The second half the field conditions weren’t ideal and I believed it negated some of our speed,” said head coach Kevin Miller.
West Delaware scored all of its points on big plays– rushing scores of 61, 47 and 35 yards and a pass of 69 yards.
“I thought coming into the game we were two pretty evenly-matched teams and the difference in the game would come down to turnovers and big plays,” Miller said. “West Delaware was able to make big plays and create two turnovers, which in the end was the difference in the game.”
After West Delaware had taken a 20-14 lead on its opening drive of the third quarter with a 35-yard run by the Hawks’ Max Ridenour, Solon’s Brandon Kramer took the kickoff 70 yards to the West Delaware 20-yard-line.
The Spartans got to the Hawk’s 4-yard-line, but could get no closer and turned the ball over on downs.
“We simply didn’t execute,” Miller said. “We had a couple of plays called that if we execute, we score, but that was a huge blow for us.”
Solon’s offense did successfully execute on two long plays– touchdown receptions of 32 yards for Halston Durr and 25 yards for Jacob Coons.
But the ground game was limited for the Spartans, with only 88 yards on 27 attempts.
Senior Brandon Kramer led the team with 45 yards on 12 carries, junior Nate Christensen had 31 yards on a single carry and junior quarterback Brandan Childs added 27 yards on 10 tries.
Most of the offense against West Delaware came from the air, as Childs racked up 220 yards on 17-32 passing. Connor Ham was the leading receiver with seven catches for 80 yards, while Coons added 56 yards on three receptions.
After the game, Miller told his team he was proud of them and their accomplishments.
“I’ve witnessed significant growth on and off the field from this group of young men and that to me is the most rewarding aspect of everything we accomplished,” Miller said. “The seniors were a tremendous group, that developed into great leaders.”
Solon ended the season with 343 points scored.
Kramer was the leading rusher with 1,274 yards on 168 carries, scoring 12 touchdowns on the ground. Childs added 431 yards on 86 carries, with seven rushing touchdowns. Ham had 293 yards and five touchdowns.
Kramer also added two kickoff returns for touchdowns and two punt returns for touchdowns.
Childs ended the year 86-149 for 991 yards passing, including 10 touchdowns. Ham was the favored target with 32 receptions and 245. Close behind were Trevor Yahr with 211 yards and four touchdowns and Coons with 198 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Spencer Lawson led the team with 52 total tackles, including seven solo sacks. Kramer added 42.5 tackles and two sacks.
Durr had two interceptions for the team lead, while he, Lawson and Bo Black each returned an interception for a touchdown.