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Spartans exorcize Demons, 35-20, in another late-game rally

28-point late game rally pushes Spartans past Demons, 35-20

WASHINGTON– After a first half leaving some Solon fans scratching their heads on Friday, Oct. 4, the Spartans, No. 4 ranked in Class 3A, scored 28 unanswered points in the Demons’ lair, Case Field in Washington, to triumph, 35-20. The Spartans remain undefeated at 6-0 for the season and 2-0 in district play.
The Washington Demons, ranked No. 8 in Class 3A, commanded a 20-7 lead over the Spartans at the half. The Demons scored first on a fourth and goal as Wyatt Stout dashed in from the two-yard-line, capping a 16-play drive to lead, 7-0, in the first quarter. Washington’s Ethan Hunt reeled in a 30-yard catch to push the Demons’ lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Solon quarterback Cam Miller closed the margin after getting the Spartans into the red zone on a carry with a lunge into the end zone to make it a tight affair.
But the Demons would not go quietly into the second half. Washington scored with a surprise 41-yard run by Demon quarterback Luke Turner on the final play of the first half as both teams appeared prepared to allow the clock run out on the half. After the failed extra point, momentum could have swayed Washington’s way, leading 20-7 at halftime.
“There's no doubt that they have us circled as a game of importance,” Solon Head Coach Kevin Miller said. “Washington is a very difficult place to play and we have struggled from time to time down there. We view this game as a rivalry game and we've had some very competitive games over the past five years or so. Washington came out with a lot of emotion and the environment was electric, a true playoff environment.”
The Demons were ready to play, he noted.
“They executed extremely well in all phases and controlled the physical aspect of the game,” Miller said. “We struggled to find a rhythm on offense and gave up a few big plays defensively.”
The Spartans used the halftime to their apparent advantage.
“We made a few adjustments at halftime. However, we emphasized the value of execution and why we needed to improve in all facets in the second half,” Coach Miller expounded. “We lacked execution in first half, we simply needed to trust each other and the game plan. I was proud of how our players responded in the second half. We played with a deeper sense of urgency and were able to shut them down defensively. Offensively we finally started to click and find our rhythm.”
Respond in the second half, the players did.
The Spartan defense effectively shut down the Washington offense and Solon’s offense shrugged off the funk about halfway through the third quarter and added 14 points. The Cam-Coons connection struck, Miller completed a 35-yard strike down the middle to A.J. Coons narrowing the gap to 20-14 and, on the following drive, Joe Stahle shook coverage and quarterback Cam Miller connected for another 28-yard touchdown, putting the Spartans up, 21-20.
Arguably one of the largest Demon demoralizing moves of the game, Jax Flynn snatched another magical, momentum-stealing interception this season sparking another Cam-Coons hook-up on the evening as Coons exploited a Demon defender to add seven to the Spartans score, 28-20. Seamus Poynton delivered the Demons a final blow on a 15-yard run for the final score of the game. Solon defeated Washington, coming from behind, 35-20.
“We need these types of challenges,” Coach Miller pointed out. “These types of games test your team's leadership and grit. I was extremely pleased with how the players responded in the second half. I expect this game to assist us moving forward. There was a lot to take away from this game.”
The Spartan defense held Demons quarterback Luke Turner to 10-33 passing for 149 yards and one touchdown, intercepting him once. He rushed 19 times accumulating 30 yards and a rushing touchdown.
The Demons mustered just 78 total yards rushing, including Turner’s 30, and just one other rushing touchdown.
Solon quarterback Cam Miller was 11-18 passing for 121 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed 22 times amassing 169 yards and one touchdown.
Miller’s targets were Jace Andregg with five receptions for 42 yards; A.J. Coons grabbed four passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns, the longest 35; Stahle pulled in one for his 28-yard touchdown; and Seamus Poynton had one grab for a loss of three yards.
The Spartan rushing onslaught was led by Miller, followed by Jace Andregg’s six carries for 38 yards and Seamus Poynton carrying the ball eight times for 15 yards.
Flynn led the defense with three solo tackles and eight assists. Andregg recorded two solo tackles and five assists, Lucas TePoel had two tackles and four assists, Bo Janssen collected two solos and an assist and Sully Steen had two solos– one a sack for a loss. Nolan Pattison and Michael Brogammer wrapped up a solo tackle and four assists; Colton Hoffman and Tyler Locke had one solo tackle and two assists apiece; Thomas Brandt, Hayes Diersen, and Poynton were credited for one solo and one assist apiece; Lucas walker had one solo tackle; Carson Shive earned seven tackle assists; Nash Altman and Miles Fuller earned two assists apiece; and Coons and Austin Schwake each had one assist.
Cael O’Neill was a perfect 5-5 on point-after attempts and Will Noonan handled the kickoffs, amassing 219 total yards. Trey Stebral punted six times for 243 yards, the longest 46 yards.
Coons and Poynton both recorded a kickoff return for 20 yards. Flynn had one return for 14 yards and TePoel returned one for 11 yards.
Poynton returned two punts for 10 yards total. Andregg fielded one return for six yards and Coons collected one for four yards.
Coach Miller praised the team’s ability to pick themselves up after the first half, shrug it off and capitalize to finish the game.
“I thought it was a total team effort,” he said. “We really stepped up in the second half defensively and numerous players contributed. Offensively we were able to distribute the ball to a number of playmakers. Cam did a nice job of managing the game and distributing the ball to our various playmakers.”
The Spartans travel to Mount Pleasant’s Mapleleaf Complex on Friday, Oct. 11, for a 7:30 p.m. varsity kickoff. Then it is Senior Night at Spartan Stadium on Friday, Oct. 18, hosting Keokuk for Solon’s last regular season home game. The regular season closes for the Spartans on the road when they face Fairfield on Friday, Oct. 25.
The Spartans lead Class 3A District 6 with a 6-0 record. The Mount Pleasant Panthers sit at 5-1 occupying the District’s No. 2 position and have lost only one game in week two of this season to Pella, 55-20. Their wins come from a 42-20 triumph over Clear Creek Amana, a 55-7 spanking of Central Lee, a 35-7 win over Ottumwa, a 42-16 thrashing of Fairfield and a 47-7 waxing of Keokuk.
Coach Miller feels another trial for the Spartans pending.
“Mount Pleasant is a very good team,” he said. “They have tremendous size on the line of scrimmage and a quarterback that can throw it around. This game is for the district title, we need to have a great week of practice. Mount Pleasant always plays us tough and I see another test on the horizon.”
Statistics for the article are courtesy of quickstats.com from Sunday, Oct. 6.