WASHINGTON — Solon football got back to what they do best.
Trailing by 15 points against Class 3A No. 4 Washington (Iowa), the Spartans used an efficient quarterback and a stifling, opportunistic defense to light up the scoreboard with 36 straight points and beat the Demons, 36-15, in a pivotal District 5 game Friday night at Case Field.
“I was most pleased with how we responded down 15-nothing,” Solon Coach Kevin Miller said. “Two weeks ago, we got down like that (a 34-0 loss at Iowa City Regina) and just kind of folded and we stopped battling. Tonight that wasn’t the case.”
After the Washington offense – which entered the game ranked second in the state in total yardage – took a 15-0 lead with a touchdown pass and touchdown run from dynamic do-everything junior quarterback Ryan Reighard, the Spartans caught a break.
A muffed punt gave Solon the ball at the Washington 22-yard-line with 5:25 left until halftime. Three plays later, Solon lefty quarterback Blayze Griffis found tailback Trevor Nelson out of the backfield for a 17-yard score.
After a Washington punt, Griffis rolled right and fired across the field to Nelson for a 20-yard touchdown that pulled the Spartans within 15-14 at halftime.
“It wasn’t called at all,” said Griffis, who finished with 108 yards passing and the two touchdowns. “The play just kind of broke down and I saw Trevor running wide open.”
After a scoreless third quarter, Solon (3-1) pulled ahead for good at 22-15 with a one-yard touchdown run by tailback Kendrick Harris.
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The signature Spartans defense then blew the game wide open with a pair of interception returns for touchdowns on consecutive plays, the first a lumbering 70-yard theft of a screen pass by junior D-lineman Tyler Linderbaum.
“I was a bit tired, to say the least,” Linderbaum said with a laugh. “It was fun, it was fun. … My teammates were there and I saw six.”
A 20-yard interception return for a touchdown by junior linebacker Spencer Wegmann closed a 22-0 fourth quarter and capped 36 unanswered points for Solon.
Reighard finished with 137 yards rushing and just 87 passing with three interceptions.
The Demons also lost three fumbles, including two muffed punts.
Solon totaled just 166 total yards, but scored touchdowns on all three trips inside the Washington 20-yard-line.
Solon hosts Oskaloosa next week, while Washington (3-1) visits Fairfield.
Solon 36, Class 3A No. 4 Washington (Iowa) 15
WAS — Bryce Sinn 12 pass from Ryan Reighard (Logan Escher kick)
WAS — Reighard 23 run (Reighard run)
SOL — Trevor Nelson 17 pass from Blayze Griffis (pass failed)
SOL — Nelson 20 pass from Griffis (Griffis pass to Nelson)
SOL — Kendrick Harris 1 run (Griffis pass to Nelson)
SOL — Tyler Linderbaum 70 interception return (Anthony Bullard kick)
SOL — Spencer Wegmann 20 interception return (Bullard kick)
RUSHING — Solon: Kendrick Harris 23-53, Jacob Coons 1-(-2), Blayze Griffis 6-7; Washington: Ryan Reighard 32-137, Jack Redlinger 10-41, Tristin Westphal-Edwards 2-32.
PASSING — Solon: Blayze Griffis 9-15-2-108; Washington: Ryan Reighard 12-20-3-87.
RECEIVING — Solon: Kendrick Harris 2-11, Jacob Coons 3-36, Payton Bandy 1-20, Trevor Nelson 3-41; Washington: Jaivonn Willis 2-21, Jack Redlinger 4-15, Tristin Westphal-Edwards 1-1, Dalton Myers 2-10, Bryce Sinn 3-36.
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