MOUNT VERNON– Despite the heat, the Solon Spartans piled up over 400 yards of offense against the Mount Vernon Mustangs Friday night, winning the first game of the season on the road, 31-8.
The game was delayed an hour due to excess heat warnings and the freshman/sophomore game was shortened to 8 minute quarters as a precaution.
“The conditions were very oppressive needless to say,” noted head coach Kevin Miller. “Coaches and trainers work cooperatively to educate players about the importance of hydration, rest and nutrition.”
Solon spent most of the first quarter with a drive that finally stalled on the Mustang 11-yard-line, leading to a field goal by Solon’s Jackson Rushek and a 3-0 lead.
Then it was the defense’s turn.
After Mount Vernon’s Trey Ryan had a 42-yard run to put the Mustangs at Solon’s 31, a pair of sacks– one by Tyler Shaffer and one by Connor Wiseman– backed the Mustang offense up 15 yards and forced the ball back to the Spartans.
“We were pretty solid on defense and we have some big physical bodies that allowed us to defend the run very effectively,” Miller said. “We did a lot of rotating of players and I believe our depth was fundamental to the outcome of the game.”
With just over three minutes elapsed in the second quarter, quarterback Jacob Black hooked up with Connor Ham, who sped 85 yards for a touchdown.
Solon scored twice more before halftime on runs of 38 and 37 yards by Black.
Black’s first rushing touchdown came after a Kiefer Stone interception stalled a long drive by the Mustangs into Spartan territory.
Mount Vernon’s only score came on a 45-yard reception from quarterback Jake Pisarik to Connor Herrmann with 11:13 left in the game. Another Herrmann reception gave the Mustangs a two-point conversion.
Solon limited the Mustangs to 275 yards of total offense, including 113 yards rushing.
The Spartans amassed 332 rushing yards and 468 total yards.
Brandon Kramer led the Spartans with 141 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown run with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. Black had 138 yards rushing and 138 yards in the air, connecting on 4-8 passes, including the touchdown to Ham. Evan Burrowes had one catch for 28 yards, and Shaffer caught two for 25 yards.
“I’m very pleased with the overall production of our offense. I was very happy with the offensive line and all of the skill position players,” Miller Observed. “Jacob and Brandon were outstanding but we had a number of players who contributed in a variety of ways.”
Solon will face a stern test Friday as it hosts Iowa City Regina. The Regals opened their season with a 41-14 win over West Liberty and are returning key starters offensively.
“The real key is to continue to improve and stay healthy,” Miller said.