• 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 blank Dutch, 24-0, UNI-Dome bound

Solon advances to semifinal against Sargeant Bluff-Luton

SOLON– The Spartans put to rest any question they were ready for the postseason, and continued their undefeated season (11-0) with a 24-0 blanking of the Pella Dutch on Friday, Nov. 8, in front of the home crowd at Spartan Stadium.
Solon advances to a semifinal match-up in the 2019 Iowa High School Athletic Union Class 3A football playoffs against the Sergeant Bluff-Luton (10-1) on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 8:30 p.m. at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.
The Friday, Nov. 8, game against the Dutch was billed earlier in the week as a “match of prolific passing attacks.”
Apparently, no one told the Solon defense, as they started influencing the game from the opening drive.
The Dutch received the opening kickoff and began their first possession, but Solon’s defense flexed its muscles just past the midfield mark as Pella’s junior quarterback Ryan Mace mishandled the ball, putting it on the turf, and Spartan senior Michael Broghammer pounced on the opportunity. The Solon offense began its first drive at their own 44-yard line with about 9:30 left in the first quarter.
The Spartans capitalized on the possession and, 11 plays later, Cam Miller dashed 13 yards, crossing the goal line on a quarterback keeper, and following a Cael O’Neill kick, the Spartans held a 7-0 lead with 7:13 remaining in the opening quarter.
Pella’s next possession was equally fruitless and the Spartans’ second possession resulted in Miller connecting on a 20-yard out route to Jace Andregg who contorted his body, leaping just inside the right pylon to score. A successful point-after attempt (PAT) by O’Neill and Solon built a comfortable lead, 14-0, with 4:15 still remaining in the first quarter.
Spartan senior Jax Flynn buried the Dutch’s kickoff return at the Pella six-yard line.
Again, the Dutch found little success and kicked it back to Solon. The Spartans marched toward the goal once again. Facing a third and 13 at the Dutch 16-yard line, after a drive including a big Miller rush and a thwarted pass to Andregg, the Dutch appeared to have stalled the Spartans.
O’Neill, who’d attempted only one field goal this season, was called upon to step up. Special teams did their job protecting O’Neill, who split the uprights kicking from about 33-yards out, with a margin to spare, and Solon ended the quarter leading 17-0.
The Dutch tried to build some momentum with arguably their best drive of the game in the second quarter. They marched to the Solon nine-yard line and the stalwart Spartan defense denied the Dutch’s Aaron Downs on a fourth and two, stealing much of Pella’s starch.
Taking over on downs, the Spartans forged 91 yards in 14 plays, punctuated by several carries by Andregg. Miller jogged in for the final score of the game, punctuated by another O’Neill PAT and the game’s final numbers were attained: Solon 24, Pella 0, with 2:43 remaining in the half.
The Spartan defense would put the final period on their first half statement with 16 ticks remaining in the half. Solon’s Seamus Poynton jumped in front of a Ryan Mace pass deflating any hope of a Dutch rally. The Spartans took a knee to end the half.
The final half of play, the Solon defense held its ground and the Spartan offense kept the clock moving to expedite the game and punch their ticket to the semifinals in Cedar Falls.
The win did not come without a cost though. Broghammer was assisted from the field with about six-minutes remaining in the second quarter, and with about six-minutes remaining in the game, Miller was helped from the field. Neither returned to the game. Broghammer was in street clothes on the sidelines during the second half.
“Overall we executed pretty well, I believe it was our most complete game to date,” Spartan Head Coach Kevin Miller summarized. “We knew that minimizing our turnovers and penalties would be crucial to determining the outcome of the game. We won the turnover battle but still need to minimize the penalties.
“This time of year our players understand what's expected and the sacrifices that are necessary if they want to continue to advance,” he added.
Asked about the expense paid with Broghammer and, son and quarterback, Cam Miller exiting the game, Coach Miller was positive.
“I think Cam will be ready to go and Michael is day to day,” he assessed. “I know if Michael wants to play and, if he's even close to being ready, he'll play.”
Cam Miller was 5-9 on completions for 58 total yards passing, including the one 20-yard touchdown pass to Andregg. Miller rushed 22 times amassing 107 yards and two rushing touchdowns on the way to the win.
Miller hit Andregg twice for 39 total yards, including the touchdown, and A.J. Coons snatched three for 19 total yards.
Poynton rushed nine times for the Spartans’ ground offensive accumulating 63 yards. Andregg carried the ball 12 times for 40 yards. Lucas TePoel and Jackson Ryan each carried the ball twice and tallied 16 and 12 yards for Solon, respectively. Bo Janssen handled the ball three times ending the game with -4 total yards.
O’Neill was 100 percent on his three point-after-attempts and kicked the 33-yard field goal. He also kicked off five times, collecting 214 total yards, with one touchback.
Trey Stebral punted four times for the Spartans covering 149 yards, the longest 48 yards.
Andregg returned a kickoff for 18 yards and Coons returned a punt for 10 yards.
The big story of the game was the defense. The Spartan defense forced Pella into four turnovers and limited the Dutch to 175 total offensive yards with only nine first downs. It was the Dutch’s first shutout since 2013.
Pella’s Ryan Mace was 11-22 passing, limited to just 77 yards and intercepted twice. Rushing production by the Dutch was limited to 98 yards on the ground.
Carson Shive amassed eight solo tackles and assisted on three. Nolan Pattison wrestled down four solo tackles and assisted on one. Flynn recorded three solo tackles and assisted on eight while Andregg had three solo tackles, two of which were sacks for loss and two tackle assists. Ryan racked up three solo tackles. Tyler Locke and Poynton each had a solo tackle and three assists; TePoel had one solo and two assists; Broghammer assisted on three tackles before succumbing to injury; Coons assisted on two tackles; Jackson Clevenger, Hayes Diersen, Colton Hoffman, Stebral, Sully Steen and Brad Stotler all assisted on a tackle apiece. Hoffman and Poynton both intercepted Pella’s Mace once, Hoffman returned the ball 35 yards and Poynton returned his for 13 yards.
“Our defense has steadily improved with each week,” Coach Miller commented. “I believe it's a testament to our players believing in the system and coaches who hold players to a high standard. The key to our defensive success stems from the discipline they possess and the overall trust they have in one another. We believe that defense wins championships and put a premium on preparing our players to compete at the highest level.”
Asked about the emotions this season, with son Cam as a senior and the fact he was helped from the field near the end of the game, Coach Miller professed the importance of Friday night’s win and the next step, the UNI-Dome.
“There certainly have been moments for sure where it has become emotional for me,” he reflected. “Friday night was one of those particular nights for sure, being Cam's last home game. I've spent a lot of time reflecting the last few weeks and I feel very fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to coach my son. It's very hard to put into words but it's an experience that I'll forever cherish.”
The Spartans (11-0) step into the UNI-Dome on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 8:30 p.m., to face the Sergeant Bluff-Luton Warriors (10-1). The only Warriors loss came at the hands of Lewis Central, 35-7, in week one of the 2019 season. Their wins: Harlan (47-27), Sioux City East (41-0), Boyden Hall/Rock Valley (34-14), Bishop Heelan (29-16), LeMars (38-18), Spencer (35-13), Denison-Schleswig (41-14), Storm Lake (41-8), Carlisle (48-15) and Norwalk on Nov. 8 (54-28).
In Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s win over Norwalk, Warrior quarterback senior Daniel Wright completed 20 of 27 passes for 244 yards, with no interceptions, scoring four passing touchdowns. The longest touchdown pass was 48 yards. Wright carried the ball twice for 10 yards total.
Wright hit seven different receivers. Deric Fitzgerald caught five passes for 43 yards; Jacob Imming four times for 21 yards; Cory Bates and Ashton VerDoom had three catches apiece for 35 yards and 50 yards, respectively with one of VerDoom’s for a 23 yard touchdown; Kaden Helt and Carter Schumacher grabbed two catches apiece for 19 yards and 28 yards apiece, both having a touchdown; and Ben Freiberg had a solo catch for 48 yards and a touchdown.
Bates rushed 10 times for 65 yards including a 49-yard touchdown, Deric Fitzgerald carried the ball once for 22 yards, and Hayden Sweum carried the ball once for seven yards.
The Warriors’ defense held Norwalk to 9-31 passing for 200 yards total with one interception and two touchdowns through the air. Sergeant Bluff-Luton limited Norwalk’s rushing game to 37 carries for 223 yards including two rushing touchdowns.
Have they met a defense like Solon’s?
“Sergeant Bluff-Luton is a very good football team,” Coach Miller said. “This will certainly be the best offense we've faced this year. They possess tremendous speed at their skill positions and a very talented quarterback. On defense, they play fast and physical and their special teams are also stellar. Defensively, we'll be tested and must be sound in order to be successful.”
It is Solon’s second visit to the UNI-Dome in the last three years.
“This has been a rewarding year,” Coach Miller exclaimed. “I've thoroughly enjoyed coaching this group and they believe in the system we have in place and in one another. I'm very happy for the players and everyone associated with the program. Playing in the UNI-Dome is a remarkable experience and one we don't take for granted. We feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to compete in the state semifinals.”