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Tradition never graduates- Spartans defeat Mustangs again, 35-7

35-7 season opener over Mustangs affirms prognostications
Solon senior A.J. Coons dodges a shoestring tackle by a Mustang Colin Schwantz on the way to extra yardage after the catch during the Spartans' 35-7 defeat of Mount Vernon on Cornell's campus in Mount Vernon Friday, Aug. 30. (photos by Jeff Hess)

MOUNT VERNON– “Tradition never graduates” adorned the side of the machine shed for all to see heading north on Highway 1, toward Solon, on their way to the Highway 1 rivalry game Friday, Aug. 30.
The tradition of Solon defeating the Mustangs continued, as the Spartans soundly defeated Mount Vernon, 35-7, at Ash Park, under the lights on the Cornell Rams’ home field in Mount Vernon. It was the 17th straight victory for Solon in the match up.
Solon scored early in the first quarter to establish the game tempo and exercised relatively unfettered control of the Mustangs for the first three quarters of the game. Seamus Poynton rushed into the end zone from 10 yards out, capping a six-play drive amassing 50 yards.
Quarterback senior Cam Miller, with 5:41 remaining in the first quarter, scooted into the end zone, extending the Spartans lead, 14-0, following a successful point-after attempt (PAT) from senior Cael O’Neill. The Beach Boys wailed “Surfing U.S.A.” from the sound system as the ball was reset.
A little more than four minutes later at the 1:19 mark, Jace Andregg leapt into the end zone over the right side, with an O’Neill success at the PAT, to continue the Spartans’ victory wave ride.
The second quarter, much like the first, Miller connected on an aerial attack with A.J. Coons for a score with 5:32 remaining in the first half. O’Neill, perfect on the evening with PATs, split the uprights and the Spartans led, 28-0.
Junior Danny Knezevich captured the Spartan crowd’s attention, reeling in an interception resulting in a rushing touchdown by senior Seamus Poynton with less than two minutes remaining. O’Neill split the uprights and sent the Mustangs to the locker room trailing, 28-0, at the half.
Mount Vernon started the second half with possession of the ball, but the Spartans would not be denied. With 9:44 remaining in the third quarter, Andregg streaked across the goal line for a touchdown and O’Neill put the cherry on the 35-0 lead.
The Mustangs finally found the end zone once in the fourth quarter after being denied by the Spartans for much of the game. As the horn wailed, Solon departed victorious, 35-7.
Solon held Mount Vernon’s quarterback Brady Ketchum to just 14-25 passing for 118 yards and intercepted him once. The Spartan defense held the Mustang rushing offensive total to just 65 yards for the evening.
Miller was 13-21 for Solon passing for 221 yards and one touchdown while adding 63 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground.
Coons had six receptions and 123 yards with the game’s final score for the Spartans.
Head Coach Kevin Miller was pleased with the well-balanced, first-game performance.
“We started fast offensively and defensively, we didn’t give up big plays, and were in good position throughout the course of the game,” he commented. “We want to be balanced on offense this season and Friday we demonstrated consistency in the run and pass game. We want to make it difficult for our opponents to defend us. When they have to prepare equally for defending the run and pass, it creates opportunities to be successful offensively.”
The offensive and defensive line did a fine job of controlling the Mustangs, eliminating most of their offensive production and allowing Cam Miller some time to orchestrate the offense. “We have given Cam more freedom and responsibility to distribute the ball,” Coach Miller said. “I thought he did a nice job of managing the game and distributing the ball effectively to our playmakers. Seamus Poynton played well at running back, A.J. Coons played outstanding at wide receiver and our entire wide receiver group did a nice job of blocking on the perimeter.”
Both the offensive and defensive lines made significant improvement from the scrimmage, he noted.
“I have no doubt that we controlled the line of scrimmage, which is essential in the outcome of any game,” Miller said. “I thought Michael Brogrammer and Tyler Locke played exceptional on defense, along with Jax Flynn. Our line play was a bit of question coming into the year and they have improved steadily from day one. We still have a way to go with both the offensive and defensive line, but if they continue to improve, we have a chance to be pretty good.”
The Spartans (1-0) host West Liberty (0-1) for Armed Forces Night at Spartan Stadium on Friday, Sept. 9, with the opening kick at 7:30 p.m.
Coach Miller was reserved when speaking about Friday’s opponent, the West Liberty Comets. “We are excited to be at home to play in front of our community. West Liberty is a good team and we must stay focused on improving,” he said. “We have to be mentally prepared, last year we took this team for granted and as a result we were in a dogfight and nearly lost.”
Solon visits Marion Friday, Sept. 13, for a 7:30 p.m. kick off against the Indians. Davenport Assumption visits Spartan Stadium on Friday, Sept. 20, also with a 7:30 p.m. commencement. Fort Madison visits for the second week of a two-week home stand for a 7:30 p.m. kick off on Friday, Sept. 27. Then it is a two-week away schedule, first in Washington on Friday, Oct. 10, and a visit to Mount Pleasant the week following on Friday, Oct. 11. The final home game of the regular season is Friday, Oct. 18, against Keokuk and Solon ends regular season play on Friday, Oct. 25, in Fairfield.
Article statistics are courtesy of Quickstatsiowa.com from Sept. 1.