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Spartans blank Chiefs, 42-0, clinch 3A District 6

Solon ranked No. 1 in 3A
Spartan seniors Michael Broghammer, Seamus Poynton, Jax Flynn, Luke Haganman and Nathan Steffans arrive on the field of battle for their final regular season home game at Spartan Stadium on Friday, Oct. 18, abreast of their teammates. The Spartans overwhelmed the Keokuk Chiefs, 42-0, to move to 8-0 on the season.

SOLON– The Solon Spartan football team clinched Class 3A District 6, after appearing at No. 1 in the Iowa High School Athletic Association Week 7 Class 3A rankings, with its Senior Night routing of the Keokuk Chiefs, 42-0, at Spartan Stadium, during their final regular season home game on Friday, Oct. 18.
Senior Night at the stadium saw the Spartan faithful get a chance to recognize seniors from the football team as well as other activities, including the cross country team, cheerleaders and dance team as well as the band, which graced the halftime show with music while adorned in Halloween costumes.
The Spartans charged onto the field through a funnel of student fans, past a pink bunny waving the Spartan flag, as “Hells Bells” by AC/DC assaulted the fans from the scoreboard sound system. The music and the energy had the Spartan allegiant vested in the game early.
The Chiefs received the opening kick off and following the first play from scrimmage, proceeded to call their first timeout, not liking what the Solon defense was throwing at them. The defense would stymie the Chiefs all evening as Keokuk ended up having to rush to get a punt away after being stopped by Solon.
But like a high-octane power plant stuck with the choke open, the Spartans sputtered a little in the first quarter with a couple three-and-out possessions and an uncharacteristic interception. Solon put together its first and only score of the first quarter with 4:51 aglow on the scoreboard. Senior quarterback Cam Miller connected with Jace Andregg on a screen pass and Cael O’Neill was good on the point-after attempt (PAT) to clear the cylinders and get the motor running clean.
Asked if the Chiefs threw something at the Spartans they did not expect in the first quarter or if it was a problem with execution offensively, Head Coach Kevin Miller was quick to note “A little of both.”
“They had a good defensive plan and it took us a couple series to figure out how they were playing us,” Coach Miller confessed. “Once we were able to get a definitive feel for what they were doing, we were able to devise a plan of attack. Additionally, we lacked offensive rhythm due to lack of execution.”
The Spartans added 21 more points in the half after brushing off the boggles of the first quarter. The Spartans amassed 80 yards in five plays, highlighted by a 31-yard pass from Cam Miller to A.J. Coons, and culminating in a 5-yard dart by Andregg for a score and an O’Neill kick to put Solon out 14-0, with 5:25 left in half.
The steadfast defense Solon played contributed to putting the Spartans in scoring position as Thomas Brandt executed a diving interception to give the Spartans the ball on the 15-yard line, setting up a Cam Miller 4-yard dash for a score and an O’Neill kick put the Spartans up, 21-0, with 3:12 remaining.
On the subsequent kick, the Chiefs were called for a hold, setting them up for a first and 22 on their 13-yard line which left them susceptible. Stalwart defensive play left the ball on the turf and in the hands of Andregg on the 3-yard line. Senior Seamus Poynton punched his way through on the next play from scrimmage and game the Spartans their 28-0 score following another O’Neill PAT with 1:41 left in the half.
The Spartans added 14 points more in the second half on scores in the third quarter by Poynton, on a 39 yard pass from Cam Miller, and a 5-yard pass by the Cam-Coons Connection, both capped by PATs from a perfect O’Neill, to triumph, 42-0, over the Keokuk Chiefs and move to 8-0 on the season.
The Spartan Defense limited the Keokuk Chiefs’ quarterback Corey Skinner to 8-19 passing for a mere 17 yards and intercepted him once. Keokuk’s rushing was held to 25 carries for 69 total rushing yards for the game. Solon’s special teams hounded the Chiefs’ Skinner as he punted, limiting him to just 56 yards on his four punts; his longest punt amassed 40 yards.
“Defensively, we were solid once again,” Coach Miller affirmed. “The defense continues to improve on a weekly basis and created two big turnovers which created a short field for the offense.
“As a whole the group played outstanding!” Coach Miller elaborated. “Creating turnovers and preventing big plays were key once again this week. Our front seven was stout once again and our secondary was outstanding. We have several key contributors that play an integral role in the overall effectiveness of our defense.”
Spartan senior Jax Flynn recorded four solo tackles, one for a loss, and nine assists. He intercepted the ball once and returned it for 10 yards. Andregg drug down three solo tackles, one for a loss, and assisted on four while senior Hayes Diersen drug down three solo tackles of his own. Brandt and junior Lucas TePoel had two solo tackles and one assist apiece, with Brandt intercepting the ball once. Senior Brady Stotler amassed two solo tackles. Junior Carson Shive wrapped a solo tackle and assisted on four; seniors Collin Linden and Nolan Pattison had a solo tackle and two assists apiece; Coons, Poynton and seniors Trey Stebral and Sully Steen had a solo and an assist apiece; senior Miles Fuller and juniors Will Noonan and Jackson Ryan had one solo tackle each; senior Mathieux Rehnke collected two tackle assists; and seniors Tyler Locke and Nathan Steffens and junior Ben Cusick assisted on one tackle each.
Coach Miller was also pleased with the Spartans offense, after getting started in the second quarter.
“We executed much better in the second quarter,” he stated. “We were able to establish the run through a particular formation and found a good tempo with our no huddle. We need to rush the football if we want to be a complete offense. The offensive line did an outstanding job and they’re starting to come into their own as a unit.”
Senior quarterback Cam Miller was 14-20 passing for 159 yards and three touchdowns with the longest touchdown strike being 39 yards. He was intercepted once early in the game by the Chiefs. He also carried the ball five times for 13 yards and one 4-yard touchdown run. Junior Bo Janssen was 0-2 through the air and carried the ball once earning 11 yards. Janssen also returned one punt for 28 yards.
Coons amassed 88 yards on nine catches including a 5-yard touchdown grab. Poynton reeled in three catches and collected 60 yards; he also led the Spartans rushing assault carrying the ball 12 times for 116 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown. Andregg snatched two balls for 11 yards including a 14-yard touchdown, also rushing twice for 6 total yards and a 5-yard touchdown.
Senior True Eidahl carried the ball six times for 10 yards.
O’Neill was perfect 6-6 on PATs and kicked off seven times accumulating 362 yards and four touchbacks.
Coach Miller was quick to dismiss any talk of giving the No. 1 moniker much weight yet, but he gladly accepts the RPI implications.
“We don't get too caught up in the rankings,” he said. “However, being ranked No. 1 in the RPI is significant because the playoff system is dependent on a seeding system. Our goals to start the year were to go 9-0 and win a district title. We've accomplished one but we’re now focused on winning our district.”
The Spartans have one regular season stop remaining in Fairfield (0-8 this season) on Friday, Oct. 25, with a 7 p.m. kickoff. And the week eight, dated Thursday, Oct. 17, prognostication of 3A first round quadrant match ups, based upon BC Moore computer predictions, still anticipates a Davenport Assumption at Solon first-round game.
However, the Spartans’ focus remains on finishing the season.
“Currently we're focused on Fairfield,” Coach Miller reaffirmed. “We're not concerned with their record, we're concentrating on our development moving forward. They have some pieces in every phase that are concerning but we simply need to keep improving.
“Assumption lost Friday night, it's really hard to project who we'll play at this point. We don't have control over who we play, but have control over our ability to improve and that will be our continued focus.”
The importance of Senior Night was especially poignant this time for Coach Miller as he joined his wife and son Cam in the senior recognition to open the game.
“It was an emotional night for sure,” he reflected. “Cam has been involved with our program in some capacity for 12 years and the finality of his involvement is now becoming apparent. I have a close bond with this group of seniors because I've known them for a long period of time. They are a great group and I've thoroughly enjoyed coaching them.”
Game statistics courtesy of Quikstatsiowa.com on Oct. 20.