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Spartans bounce back for 45-13 win over Panthers

Solon’s Connor Ham reaches for the pylon and a touchdown against Mount Pleasant Friday evening. Ham had two catches, each of them for touchdowns, during the Spartans’ 45-13 road win over the Panthers. (photos by Mary Hadenfeldt)

MOUNT PLEASANT– The Solon varsity football team returned to its winning ways Friday night.
The Spartans traveled south to Mount Pleasant for their first road game and came away with a convincing 45-13 win.
But Solon started slow and trailed for much of the first quarter before getting it into gear.
“We allowed them to march the ball down the field and score on their first series. In the process, they chewed up an entire six minutes,” said head coach Kevin Miller. “In the second quarter we settled in and executed on both sides of the ball.”
Junior Brandon Kramer put the Spartans on the board with a 12-yard touchdown run, the first of seven for the team.
After allowing the Panthers to score on the opening drive, Solon buckled down in the second quarter, keeping Mount Pleasant out of the end zone until the third quarter.
By that time, Solon had scored three more touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Jacob Black scored on a 26-yard run; Jordan Wymer followed that up with an 11-yard touchdown and Connor Ham finished the first half scoring with a 28-yard pass from Black.
The Spartans led 28-7 at the half, and tacked on a 22-yard field goal and two more touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters.
Jackson Rushek’s 22-yard field goal attempt came in the third quarter, while Ham scored on a 32-yard pass completion and Tyler Shaffer broke a 27-yard touchdown run in the fourth.
Black led the offense with 138 passing yards and 118 rushing yards. He was an efficient 7-10 with his arm, connecting with four different receivers (Ham, Shaffer, Wymer and Nathan Hawkins).
The Spartans ground out 302 rushing yards and amassed 440 total yards of offense. Supporting Black in the ground game were Wymer (59 yards on 15 attempts), Kramer (56 yards on eight carries) and Shaffer (45 yards on only four tries). Nate Kennedy, Seth Phillips and Colton Hansel also contributed with positive yardage on limited touches.
Solon was never forced to punt during the game.
“Jacob played well but so did several other players on the offensive side,” noted Miller. “I thought Logan Linderbaum was excellent at center.”
Difficulties with the snap had plagued Solon in its week two loss at home against Iowa City Regina, as did penalty flags, and the team’s coach still sees lots of room for improvement.
“We didn’t play a clean game,” Miller said. “Once again, we piled up nearly 100 yards in penalties. We must reduce the number of penalties we are committing. Additionally, they are occurring at the most inopportune times.”
Defensively, the Spartans held Mount Pleasant to just under 200 yards of total offense, including limiting Panther quarterback Dustin Amos to only five completions on 15 attempts, and one interception returned 39 yards by Solon’s Connor Ham.
“We are still growing as a team,” Miller said. “We show glimpses of being an outstanding team but we lack consistency in many phases of the game. We have to continue to improve every day if we hope to be a complete team in October.”
Solon is now 2-1 on the young season and set to begin its Class 3A District 6 schedule Friday as it hosts Clear Creek Amana for Homecoming.