SOLON– A win is a win.
The Solon Spartans rode workhorse Cody Fritz and his 165 rushing yards to a narrow 21-19 victory Friday night at home against visiting Washington.
Fritz scored once and quarterback J.J. Hanus broke the plane twice, with all three touchdowns coming in the first half, and the Solon defense held off Washington in the second half for the win.
Colton Dall recovered one fumble and intercepted Washington’s Jake Redlinger twice, the second ending the Demons’ fourth-quarter attempt to steal a win.
The Spartans held the Demons to just 79 rushing yards and 239 yards of total offense, but Solon also helped out with a lot of penalties. Several Washington drives progressed thanks to yellow flags thrown at the feet of Solon players, including a stretch toward the end of the second quarter during which a series of consecutive penalties brought loud jeers from the Solon crowd.
The Spartans were on the board first, taking their second possession and marching downfield, converting on fourth and one and then scoring on a keeper by Hanus.
A late hit on the ensuing kickoff gave the Demons great field position, but Colton Dall ended the drive with his first pick of the night.
Unfortunately, a holding penalty backed Solon up and on the first play of the second quarter, Washington’s Brock Kimball picked a Hanus pass out of the air and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown. An unsuccessful point-after kept Solon in the lead, 7-6.
Later in the second, Fritz rumbled 33 yards to set up Solon at the Demons’ 16, and Hanus took it in for a 14-6 lead.
That was short-lived, however, as unsportsmanlike conduct and personal foul penalties helped usher Washington into Spartan territory, where Redlinger connected with Colin Steele for a 24-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, and the Spartans were up 14-12 with just over six minutes left in the first half.
Washington, apparently sensing a chance against Solon, tried for an onside kick, but Jake Morris fell on it and the Solon offense set up shop at midfield.
A 50-yard touchdown completion from Hanus to Andy Klouda was negated, forcing the Spartans to punt, and the Demons were pinned deep in Washington territory and forced into a three-and-out.
That gave the ball back to the Spartans with two-and-a-half minutes left in the half, but they only used 60 seconds.
Fritz rattled off a 31-yard run to put Solon in the red zone, and then took a 5-yard sweep and dove into the end zone for Solon’s final score.
Solon ended the night with 303 total yards, 258 on the ground and 45 through the air. Hanus was 4-8 passing with one pick and rushed for 66 yards on 21 carries.
Defensively, Colton Dall had five solo tackles to go with his fumble recovery and interceptions, while Andy Klouda led the team with seven solo tackles. Jay Pike had 10 total tackles.