For Solon football fans, Thursday night’s Class 3A semifinal will long be remembered for The Fumble.
Washington scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 49-yard touchdown pass from Daryn Seibelus to Tanner Knupp with 4 minutes, 51 seconds left in the game following a controversial fumble call as the Demons edged Solon 14-9 in the UNI-Dome.
Washington (12-1) will face top-ranked Sioux City Heelan in the Class 3A title game at 7:06 p.m. Thursday while Solon saw its season end at 11-2.
Sioux City Heelan defeated Clear Lake 48-13 in the first semifinal Thursday.
“We just didn’t execute the way that we normally did in the postseason,” Solon coach Kevin Miller said. “You talk about seizing the moment and taking advantage of opportunities, and we had some opportunities and we just didn’t capitalize.”
The 49-yard scoring strike from Seibelus to Knupp came three plays after Washington had a drive extended by a bizarre play on a fourth-and-long play.
Facing fourth-and-18 from its own 30-yard line and trailing 9-7 with less than six minutes to play, Washington attempted a fake punt and punter Mason Quigley appeared to be down well short of the first down.
However, Quigley fumbled the ball forward past the first-down marker where Washington recovered at the Solon 49-yard line for a first down.
Three plays later, Seibelus hit Knupp on a short pass and Knupp went 49 yards down the sideline for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown.
“That was a great high school football game, and we are just fortunate that the ball bounced our way,” Washington coach Randy Schrader said. “It could have went the other way, we get one call, they are back in it and we don’t make that play and score.”
Solon opened the scoring with a 29-yard field goal by Jackson Rushek with 3:43 left in the opening quarter.
Rushek’s field goal capped a 14-play, 46-yard drive by Solon that included a successful fake punt on a fourth-and-three play at the Spartan 49-yard line and took 6:27 off the clock.
Washington took its first lead of the game when Knupp broke free for a 52-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter.
Knupp appeared to be bottled up after a short gain but broke free of several tackles near the line of scrimmage and squirted out of a pile give the Demons a 7-3 lead.
Solon answered with another long drive on its next possession but again stalled deep inside Demon territory and had to settle for another Rushek field goal, this time from 28 yards.
The drive covered 69 yards and lasted 12 plays, but Solon couldn’t get into the end zone after picking up a first down at the Washington 11.
“We left too many plays on the field,” Miller said. “We just didn’t execute very well.”
The Spartans trailed 7-6 at halftime but turned in its first big play of the night on special teams when Tyler Shaffer blocked a Washington punt and recovered at the Demon 7-yard line early in the third quarter.
Solon couldn’t put the ball in the end zone, but Rushek’s 26-yard field goal gave the Spartans a 9-7 lead with 5:13 left in the third quarter.
The Spartans had one final chance to win the game as a completed pass from Jacob Black to Nathan Hawkins for 27 yards and a pass interference call gave Solon the ball at the Washington 42-yard line with no time left on the clock, but Black’s pass to Hawkins on the final play fell incomplete.
Knupp finished with 104 yards on 11 carries to lead Washington.
Brandon Kramer rushed for 73 yards to lead Solon as the Spartans were held to 132 yards rushing.
“Kudos to a great program at Solon, a great opponent,” Schrader said. “That was two good physical hardnosed football teams.”
S – Jackson Rushek 29 FG.
W – Tanner Knupp 52 run (Mason Quigley kick).
S – Rushek 28 FG.
S- Rushek 26 FG.
W – Knupp 49 pass from Daryn Seibelius (Quigley kick).
|Total Nets Yards||193||306|
RUSHING – Solon: Jacob Black 18-24, Brandon Kramer 14-73, Jordan Wymer 5-28, Connor Ham 3-7. Washington: Tanner Knupp 9-104, Daryn Seibelus 8-21, Alex Coker 17-42, Carl Sivels 8-21, Mason Quigley 1-15.
PASSING – Solon: Jacob Black 6-15-1 61. Washington: Daryn Seibelius 5-11-2 100.
RECEIVING – Solon: Nathan Hawkins 2-35, Connor Ham 3-23, Brandon Kramer 1-3. Washington: Tanner Knupp 2-74, Thomas Bump 1-13, Carl Sivels 1-9, Alex Coker 1-4.