Kevin Miller’s original game plan was to throw the football.
With a little nudge from Mother Nature, the Solon coach opted to go with the run.
It turned out to be the right call.
Solon hammered out 434 rushing yards on its way to a 35-14 win over Western Dubuque in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs Wednesday at a wet and windy Spartan Stadium.
Three Spartans each ran for more than 100 yards as Solon advanced to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs where it will host West Delaware at 7 p.m. Monday.
“We came in with the plan to throw it but with the conditions the way they were, there was no need to,” Miller said. “I’m a big believer in not compromising field position and momentum to work on the passing game. The objective is to win the game.”
Senior quarterback Jacob Black ran for a game-high 154 yards and two touchdowns, senior Jordan Wymer ran for 119 yards and two scores, and junior Brandon Kramer finished with 152 yards on the ground.
Solon averaged more than 9 yards a carry and had touchdown runs of 38, 33, 31 and 2 yards.
“You know the running game is all at the line,” Wymer said. “It’s all at the line, and I think the line did a great job tonight of picking up the blitzes, and we used the read option, which helps us get the ball to our athletes.”
Things got off to a wild start before Solon settled down.
Solon forced Western Dubuque to go three-and-out on the opening possession of the game and then blocked the ensuing punt and started its first offensive possession at the Bobcat 18-yard line.
However, Black had a pass tipped and intercepted on the Spartans’ first offensive play and Western Dubuque returned the interception all the way to the Solon 23.
Four plays later, the Solon defense came up with a big play when Trevor Yahr thwarted a half-back pass attempt with an interception at the Spartan 5-yard line.
“I thought we did a great job there, we were very resilient and we got a big stop,” Miller said. “That was a big stop.”
Two possessions later, Black broke loose for a 38-yard touchdown run on a read option keep to cap a quick, three-play, 56-yard drive that gave Solon a 7-0 lead.
Western Dubuque was forced to punt on its next possession, but Solon fumbled the punt and the Bobcats recovered at the Solon 36-yard line.
Three plays later, Dylan Gansen scored on a 28-yard run to tie the score at 7-7.
The fumbled punt was one of five Spartan fumbles, two of which were lost, to go along with the early interception.
“We just had some out-of-character type of mistakes,” Miller said. “We’ve been sharper than that, and I think the kids know they are going to have to be better if they want to continue to advance.”
It didn’t take Solon long to answer.
On Solon’s first play following the touchdown, Black found Wymer wide open in the flat and the senior made a couple of nice cuts back against the grain and went 58 yards for a touchdown to give the Spartans the lead back at 14-7.
“We always want to pound it with the run with passing as the second option,” Wymer said. “Once we get them biting on something, then we can pass it.”
Following a punt by Western Dubuque on the ensuing possession, Solon went 65 yards in five plays and took a 21-7 lead on a Black’s second touchdown run, this one from 33 yards.
After another Western Dubuque punt, Wymer capped the Spartans’ best drive of the night, an eight-play, 91-yard march with a 31-yard burst up the middle that gave Solon a 28-7 halftime lead.
Solon racked up 382 yards of total offense in the first half, including 317 yards on the ground as the Spartans averaged 12 yards a run in the opening two quarters.
“That is something that we aim to do is run the football,” Miller said. “We have it in our arsenal to throw it. We threw for 165 yards last week, but we are going to take what they give us.”
Wymer tacked on a 2-yard score in the fourth quarter as Solon put the game away.
Solon finished with 18 first downs and out-gained Western Dubuque 516 to 204.
“This is a good stepping stone,” Wymer said. “This just builds toughness and hopefully helps us get after it against West Delaware.”
Gansen led Western Dubuque with 99 yards rushing on 14 carries.
|Western Dubuque (4-6)||7||0||0||7||— 14|
|Solon (9-1)||14||14||0||7||— 35|
S – Jacob Black 38 run (Jackson Rushek kick)
WD- Dylan Gansen 28 run (Benjamin Burds kick)
S – Jordan Wymer 58 pass from Black (Rushek kick)
S – Black 33 run (Rushek kick)
S- Wymer 31 run (Rushek kick)
S- Wymer 2 run (Rushek kick)
WD – Burds 9 run (Burds kick)
|Total Nets Yards||204||516|
RUSHING – Western Dubuque: Dylan Gansen 14-99, Benjamin Burds 10-52, Shane Bouska 2-12, Nolan Baumhover 10-9. Solon, Jacob Black 16-154, Brandon Kramer 15-152, Jordan Wymer 11-119, Kiefer Stone 3-8, Colton Hansel 1-1.
PASSING – Western Dubuque Nolan Baumhover 5-15-0 32, Benjamin Burds 0-1-1 0. Solon, Jacob Black 4-10-1 82.
RECEIVING – Western Dubuque: Andrew Meyer 1-13, Austin Hosch 1-10, Jacob Rosalez 1-7, Reid Mettert 1-2, Dylan Gansen 1-0. Solon, Jordan Wymer 2-70, Connor Ham 1-7, Nathan Hawkins 1-5.