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Spartans fall to West Delaware after win against Assumption

Rainy Monday gets Solon down
Brandon Kramer sheds three Davenport Assumption tacklers during a 23-yard run in the fourth quarter of Solon’s 38-20 win over the Knights in the opening game of the Class 3A playoffs Oct. 29. (photo by Doug Lindner)

MANCHESTER– Against Davenport Assumption last Wednesday, the big play helped Solon.
At West Delaware Monday night, the big play hurt.
And the second half turned out to be pivotal in both.
The Solon football team fell out of the Class 3A playoffs with a 28-14 loss at Manchester Nov. 3, and concluded the season with a 9-2 record.
The Hawks held the Spartans scoreless in the second half after Solon had taken a 14-12 lead into halftime.
All four of West Delaware’s touchdowns came on plays of more than 25 yards from scrimmage– rushing scores of 61, 47 and 35 yards and a pass of 69 yards. The four plays accounted for 212 of the Hawks’ 350 yards of offense.
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 Hawks’ 4-yard-line, but could get no closer and turned the ball over on downs.
Limited to less than 100 yards on the ground by the Hawk defense, Solon turned to the air, amassing over 200 passing yards in the losing effort.
In the opening round playoff game against Davenport Assumption in Solon Oct. 29, the Spartans were able to convert a fourth-quarter opportunity into three points, giving Solon much-needed breathing room in a 38-20 win.
It had started well, with Kramer taking the opening kickoff 88 yards for a 7-0 Solon lead.
But the Knights responded with an aerial attack that marched down the field and ended with an 11-yard pass from Assumption quarterback Joe Argo to Will Ontiveros.
“(Assumption) did a terrific job of executing with their pass game,” said Solon head coach Kevin Miller. “They took advantage of some height advantages they had on the perimeter.”
The two teams traded touchdowns throughout the first half and Solon had a tenuous 21-20 lead (on a blacked extra point) when Solon’s Connor Ham fielded the Knights’ kickoff at his own 22. Ham took the ball up field but then broke to the outside and used his speed to distance himself from three defenders for a 78-yard touchdown.
The Spartans took the 28-20 lead into halftime, and it stood throughout the third quarter, although Solon had its chances.
Assumption tried a pooch kickoff to start the third, but it was recovered by Solon at the Assumption 34. Carries by Kramer took the ball to the Assumption 5-yard-line, but the Spartans turned the ball over on downs when Ham was stuffed by the Knights’ defense.
Assumption gave the ball back after a three-and-out and Solon had field position at the Spartan 40, but quarterback Brandan Childs was intercepted by Ontiveros, and another chance went by the wayside.
Solon’s defense, however, was pitching a second-half shut out.
“Our defensive staff did a great job of making some halftime adjustments that took away some of Assumption’s pass game schemes,” Miller said. “We certainly wanted to be more aggressive but we also stressed the importance of being more fundamental in our approach.”
A tackle for loss by Tanner Wymer and a sack by Ben Lilleoded gave Assumption a fourth down and 16 at their own 48, and a botched snap on the punt gave Solon new life at the Assumption 40 as the third quarter came to a close.
Childs and Ham combined to move Solon to the Assumption 27, but Ham was stripped of the ball on the next play and the Knights recovered at their own 21-yard-line.
“This year we have done a great job of valuing the football, however, we didn’t value the football against Assumption,” Miller said.  “If we hope to advance in the playoffs, we must limit our turnovers and create turnovers with our defense and special teams.”
Again, the Solon defense pinned the Knights back, and again the Spartans had the ball on offense in Assumption territory.
This time Kramer fired the crowd up by shedding tacklers and hauling others on a 23-yard that rumbled across a good part of the field.
A pass interference penalty against Assumption helped negate a block in the back penalty against Solon, but the Spartans could not reach the end zone and were facing fourth down at the 13-yard-line.
Childs knocked a 35-yard field goal through the uprights and Solon made it a two-possession game, 31-20 with 9:36 remaining in the game.
“The field goal was key,” Miller said. “A two-possession lead heading into the fourth quarter was a huge momentum lift for our team. I felt we settled in after that score.”
The Spartans would score once more, a 2-yard run by Nate Christensen, late in the fourth.
Solon ended the game with 262 total yards of offense, including 230 yards rushing. Kramer led the team with 131 yards on 22 carries, while Ham added 56 on 12 attempts. Childs was 5-9 passing for 32 yards. Jacob Coons led the receiving corps with a single catch for 14 yards.
Kramer led the team defensively with six tackles, followed by Spencer Lawson, Childs and Colton Hansel with five. Kramer and Cameron McNutt each had fumble recoveries.