116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
SOLON — You don’t necessarily want to be the guy who replaces a legend, as goes the cliche. You’d rather be the guy who replaces the guy who replaces a legend.
But in Blake Timmons’ case, he didn’t really have a choice in this matter.
He was up next in line at quarterback for the Solon football program when all-stater Cam Miller graduated a couple of years ago. Timmons was tabbed as Miller’s successor despite being just a sophomore.
Miller is the school’s career yardage leader, guiding North Dakota State to an FCS title last season as its QB. Back to the cliches here, but you talk about big shoes to fill.
“I talked to Cam a lot about that, actually,” Timmons said last week after practice. “Ever since I was in seventh grade, I was working out with Cam and throwing with him because I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I kind of took everything I could from him.
“I didn’t really feel a ton of pressure. The biggest thing for me was just going out and playing. I know that I can play at that level if I’m just going out and competing. So that was my biggest thing.”
Timmons has done just fine in his career, thank you very much.
He combined for 1,700-plus yards and 22 touchdowns throwing and rushing in a shorter 2021 season. Last season, he threw for 1,553 yards and 19 TDs, adding another 888 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
Solon advanced to the state playoff quarterfinals two years ago and to the semifinals last season. That’s some good stuff.
“Cam’s obviously a great quarterback, has the all-time yards (record) here at Solon, just won a national championship with NDSU,” Timmons said. “I know that I’m not necessarily going to throw the ball as well as he did because he’s a gunslinger. But I know that I can bring a different aspect in the run game. It’s just using our strengths to our advantage.”
“(It’s) a lot of the intangibles that he has,” Solon Coach Lucas Stanton said. “That’s part of why he’s been the guy for three years: those intangibles. He’s very poised. He’s not a huge rah-rah guy, but his body language is always good, he’s always in command. He’s kind of what I would call stoic, almost. Never too high, never too low, and the team really feeds off of him. His running ability will really energize the team, and he has gotten so much better in the pass game each year.”
Solon’s offense not only has Timmons returning, but leading rusher Sean Stahle as well. The senior running back tallied 1,138 yards and 17 TDs last season, as the Spartans won their first 12 games before falling to Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley.
There are significant expectations for this team, which also returns leading tackler Brett White defensively.
“I just like being an athlete out here,” said White, a junior who’s a high-level Division I baseball recruit. “That’s mostly what I do. I’m mostly a baseball player, obviously, but I just embrace being out here and learning from our good coaches.”
Stanton said his biggest concerns for his team center around an unproven offensive line and secondary. Guards Adam Scott and Mason Smith are the lone returnees up front.
Having significant experience at quarterback, however, gives him a level of confidence, if not comfort.
“We kind of joke about it, because him and I were kind of in the same position,” said Stanton, who took over the Solon head coaching job in 2021, replacing hall of famer Kevin Miller, Cam’s father. “He was replacing Cam, and I was replacing Coach Miller. So we were both kind of in that unique position. We’ve kind of grown together that way. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Solon begins the season Friday night at West Liberty.
“Conditioning wise, we’re further (along) than we were last year,” Timmons said. “I think we’re going to be able to play quicker than last year. I felt like we played pretty quick last year, but I think we’ll be able to take it to another level this season, both sides of the ball. Defensively, just flying to the ball. Then, offensively, getting plays off quicker.”
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