• 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’ journey ends

Solon falls to Xavier at UNI-Dome, 35-7
Senior Kendrick Harris knifes his way through Saint defenders during the first quarter of play, a rare occurrence, on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls. The Spartans scored once in the 35-7 loss to Cedar Rapids Xavier.

CEDAR FALLS– The Spartans struggled little during the regular football season, but met their Goliath, falling 35-7 to Cedar Rapids Xavier in the Class 3A semifinals at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, on Thursday, Nov. 9.
“Xavier executed at a very high level on offense and had a great plan to attack our defense,” Solon Head Football Coach Kevin Miller said. “Our offense had to abandon our game plan prematurely due to the Xavier’s early success. We moved the ball but couldn’t finish inside the red zone when we needed to.”
Incomplete passes set the tone early in the game as the Spartans were stalled by the Saints defense in Xavier territory. When Xavier took over, the Saints marched 80 yards for the first of five touchdowns before the half.
Turnovers gave the advantage to Xavier.
The first came as Solon quarterback Cam Miller attempting to change the momentum of the game, had his pass intercepted by the Saint’s Beau Van Berkum on Solon’s second possession. Xavier scored again on the possession to lead, 14-0.
Hope sprang for the Spartans, but was quickly bashed when Xavier’s Braden Stovie appeared to misjudge a punt, collected it instead on a bounce then proceeded to pick up blockers as he sliced through the Spartans’ defense to make it 21-0 Saints.
The second turnover came as the Spartans faced a first-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Hunter Kula was hit on the carry and lost the ball, departing the game early with a knee injury. “I believe he sustained a knee injury but nothing that requires surgery,” Coach Miller said. “His injury impacted both our offensive and defensive rotations.”
Xavier then marched 94 yards, in 10 plays, for a 28-0 lead.
The final turnover for the Spartans came when quarterback Miller, facing an Xavier defense that loaded the line and rushed the sophomore, saw his pass tipped into the hands of Xavier’s Quinn Schulte for a second interception.
Schulte would also be the one to score on the ensuing drive for Xavier’s final points of the game, making the score 35-0 with a little over 1:45 remaining in the half.
The third quarter went scoreless.
The Spartans were able to find the end zone with a little more than seven minutes remaining in the game.
Kendrick Harris reeled in a 25-yard Cam Miller pass for a touchdown as the culmination of an 83-yard drive. Aidan Dall was good for the point-after to make the score 35-7.
Miller showed considerable poise, when faced with more pressure and hits from Xavier than he had experienced in any game during the regular season, trying to lead the offense. He was 9-19 passing, for 125 yards with the two interceptions and the 24-yard touchdown pass to Harris. He was also hit often, trying to deliver the ball and attempting to protect the ball, as plays broke down, carrying the ball five times for 11 yards.
Miller hit Ben Krutzfeldt three times for 38 yards, Harris twice for 42 yards and the touchdown, Payton Bandy twice for 40 yards and Adam Bock twice for five yards.
Harris rushed 14 times for 89 yards, Bock rushed once for 5 yards, and Coal Flansburg and Kula each recorded a carry for a yard loss apiece.
Bock was credited with nine solo tackles and seven tackle assists to lead the Spartans defensively. Flansburg wrapped up three solo tackles and four assists, Storm Scott racked up three solo tackles and two assists, Tyler Linderbaum had two solos and four assists, while Spencer Wegmann had a solo and six assists. Jack Stahle recorded a solo and three assists; Ryan Geistkemper amassed five assists; Mason Stahle, Dillon Hoit, and Harris had a solo and two assists apiece; Greg Brandt collected four assists and Matt Folkers recorded two assists.
Bock kicked off twice for 81 yards and punted twice for 86 yards, the longest 50 yards.
Harris returned three kickoffs for 67 total yards and Jack Stahle returned one for seven yards.
Asked about the group of departing seniors and what would be hard to replace about them, Miller reflected,
“This was a special senior group that consistently demonstrated and modeled the proper example in all aspects of our football program,” coach Miller said of his departing players. “They truly cared about one another and thoroughly enjoyed being around each other. I hope the younger players will follow the example that this group provided. If they do, they have an opportunity to be highly successful.”
Although losing 16 seniors, the Spartans’ 11-1 season record allowed the underclassmen more exposure and aided in building a strong Spartan future for the return next season of Krutzfeldt, Hoit, Jackson Pipolo, Dall, Jack Stahle, Miller, Brandt, Mason Stahle, Clay Gerdin, Geistkemper, Kula, Andy DeValk, Kale Altman, Rocky Lensing and A.J. Coons, all of whom gained experience during the regular season.
But Coach Miller sounded as if the training was about to begin when asked for comment about the future. “We lost a tremendous group of seniors. They did a tremendous job of leading our team this year and I couldn’t have been more pleased. We have some key performers returning but we must focus on improving throughout the off-season with our physical strength and conditioning,” he said.
“Most of the staff will take some time to enjoy their personal lives and simply decompress,” Coach Miller added. “Coaching football requires a lot of preparation and time away from family. I will take some time off to reflect on the great things we accomplished this year and how we can continue to improve as a program.”
Miller reminisced when asked about any special memories from this season. “Honestly, every day I made great memories being with our players on the practice field,” he said. “I appreciate all the hard work and sacrifices our players make that contribute to the overall success of our team. I have absolutely no regrets, I had a blast coaching this team and they will hold a special place in my heart. This group made a significant impact on me and our entire staff.”