There was a feeling in the air Friday night in Mount Vernon. Putting aside the misery from the oppressive heat, the feeling was that this would be the year the Mustangs ended the streak.
Long a fierce rivalry, Solon had gotten the better of their neighbors to the north the past 10 years. An explosive second quarter brought that streak to 11.
“Obviously we have a great deal of respect and admiration for Mount Vernon,” Solon coach Kevin Miller said. “They do things the right way. We just feel that we have a pretty good club. We have a deep senior class, we have depth, and I thought that was really the key in the first half.”
Following a touch-and-go first quarter, the Spartans broke loose and rolled past the Mustangs 31-8 Friday night.
New Spartan quarterback Jacob Black proved to be the difference. Amassing 255 yards of total offense in the first half, Solon had the game’s most potent weapon.
“The line blocked fantastic,” Black said. “The running backs ran well. Our defense was stellar tonight.”
Mount Vernon had an opportunity to strike first. Punting away to the Spartans, the fair catch was muffed and the Mustangs pounced on it at the Solon 42. A 15-yard strike from Jake Pisarik to Johnny See put Mount Vernon at the 27. As they did all night, the Spartan defense stiffened up. Facing fourth-and-11, Pisarik was run out of bounds after a 9-yard gain.
The Spartans took over and moved toward midfield. In a sign of things to come, Black rolled left and cut upfield. Breaking a host of tackles, Black lumbered downfield, fumbled and picked it back up on his way to a 34-yard gain. Solon settled for a 28-yard Jackson Rushek field goal.
The Spartans were just getting started.
Early in the second quarter, Solon found itself backed up at its own 15 and facing a third-and-16. Black heaved a pass up for grabs. Connor Ham rose to snatch, slipped between two defenders and raced to the end zone untouched for a 85-yard score.
The Solon defense did its part as well. Tyler Shaffer and Connon Weisman registered big sacks to negate an earlier drive. After forcing a three-and-out, Solon was gaining steam.
A short pass from Black to Evan Burrows netted 28 yards to the Mustangs 35. Two plays later, Black botched the snap out of the shotgun. He picked it up and slipped multiple defenders on his way to a 27-yard touchdown.
“I think our team is physically conditioned and mentally tougher,” Black said. “We’re conditioned well and I think the no huddle offense wore them down a little bit.”
The Mustangs appeared to be on the move on their next possession, but Pisarik’s pass over the middle was picked off by Kiefer Stone. Solon was back on the scoreboard in no time.
Black underthrew a ball that appeared to skip. Tyler Shaffer was awarded a 27-yard reception. On the next play, Black was at it again, rolling right and using a few shifty moves for a 37-yard touchdown scramble. Solon led 23-0 at the break. For the half, Solon outgained Mount Vernon 310-87.
“We opened things up a little bit (in the second quarter),” coach Miller said. “We tried to throw the ball a little bit. We just stayed with what we were doing and we just needed to do it a little bit better.”
The Mustangs moved into Solon territory once again as the third quarter began. Backup quarterback Tyler Hook led Mount Vernon to the Solon 30. On fourth-and-10, Shaffer broke through once again and blasted Hook on his blindside for a series-ending sack.
The Solon offense spent the third quarter playing conservatively, progressing the ball upfield but lacking the big plays.
The Mustangs attempted to add some drama early in the fourth. Pisarik found Connor Hermann open downfield for a 40-yard touchdown pass. That same connection worked for a two-point conversion as the deficit slimmed to 15.
Heat ultimately did what the Mustang defense couldn’t, stopping Black with cramps. Seth Phillips subbed in and picked up a big first down with an 11-yard scramble on third-and-8. Two plays later, Brandon Kramer delivered the decisive blow, bursting through the hole and punishing the second level defenders on his way to a 42-yard score.
Pisarik found Luke Madock for 42 yards down to the Solon 10 as the clock wound down under five minutes. On fourth-and-goal from the 10, Pisarik’s pass to Spencer Drahos was caught, but the Spartans swarmed at the 3 to take over on downs.
Another rivalry game is on tap for the Spartans as Class 1A defending state champion and top-ranked Regina visits Solon.
S – Jackson Rushek 28 FG.
S – Connor Ham 85 pass from Jacob Black (Rushek kick).
S – Black 27 run (kick failed).
S – Black 37 run (Rushek kick).
MV – Connor Hermann 40 pass from Jake Pisarik (Hermann pass from Pisarik).
S – Brandon Kramer 42 run (Seth Phillips run).
|Total Nets Yards||480||272|
RUSHING – Solon: Brandon Kramer 21-143, Jacob Black 15-149, Nathan Kennedy 4-18, Seth Phillips 6-34, Colton Hansel 1-minus-2. Mount Vernon: Trey Ryan 12-92, Jake Pisarik 4-17, Tommy Hook 4-minus-29, Mickey Hines 10-16, Ryan Muller 2-15.
PASSING – Solon: Black 4-8-138-0. Mount Vernon: Pisarik 7-11-124-1, Hook 3-10-37.
RECEIVING – Solon: Connor Ham 1-85, Evan Burrows 1-28, Tyler Shaffer 2-25. Mount Vernon: Johnny See 4-44, Luke Muller 1-minus-3, Noah Dahlstrom 1-21, Connor Hermann 1-40 Luke Maddock 1-42, Spencer Drahos 1-8.