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No fluke: Mount Vernon tops Solon again, 17-0, in a 3A football quarterfinal
Mustangs force 4 turnovers, hold the Spartans to 2 second-half yards
MOUNT VERNON — For two years, Jensen Meeker ran cross country.
Last year, he took the fall off altogether.
Late this summer, he gave football coach Lance Pedersen a call.
“He was considering going out for football,” Pedersen recalled. “We just talked. I told him we’d love to have him.
“And, boy, we loved having him tonight. That kid’s a playmaker, and he’s only been playing football for a few weeks.”
Meeker’s strip-sack in the final minutes turned out the lights for good Friday night, clinching No. 2 Mount Vernon’s 17-0 Class 3A quarterfinal victory over No. 5 Solon at First Street Field.
“A lot of the seniors encouraged me to go out,” said Meeker, who is listed at 140 pounds. “They’ve really supported me. I’ve had a lot of fun.”
Here’s what’s fun: Beating your archrival for the second time this season.
⧉ Related article: Photos: Mount Vernon vs Solon in Iowa high school football playoffs
Here’s what else is fun: Mount Vernon (11-0) will be playing in a semifinal at the UNI-Dome at 7 p.m. next Saturday, against No. 6 Humboldt (10-1).
“Everybody ... the players, the coaches ... had a narrow focus all week long,” Evan Brase said.
Mount Vernon scored on its first possession, then turned it over to a punishing, ball-hawking defense. The Mustangs forced four turnovers, and held Solon (8-3) to 2 yards of offense in the second half, 114 all game.
“To shut that team out, it’s an amazing accomplishment by these guys,” Pedersen said.
The Mustangs ended a 19-game losing streak to their archrivals earlier this season. Friday, they proved it was no fluke.
No fluke at all.
Solon won the coin flip and deferred. The Mustangs took the ball and marched.
They drove 77 yards in 11 plays, with Jackson Hird closing it with a 3-yard touchdown run.
“That first series was huge,” quarterback Joey Rhomberg said. “It set the tone for the game.”
Solon drove inside the 10-yard line twice in the first half, but came away empty both times.
A 13-play, 6 1/2-minute march was wiped out by a fumble at the 3, then an interception by Zatyk Holub — tipped by Meeker — ended the next threat.
The Spartans never got into Mount Vernon territory again.
Ben Crock’s 29-yard field goal made it 10-0 at halftime. Most of the second half was a stalemate as the field became even sloppier after 12 hours of steady rain.
That’s OK. The UNI-Dome will be warm and dry.
After the Mustangs’ third takeaway, Rhomberg’s 3-yard sneak put the issue to rest.
Rhomberg passed for 134 yards, completing 10 of 21 passes. Most importantly, the Mustangs played clean, turnover-free football.
Mount Vernon 17, Solon 0
CLASS 3A QUARTERFINAL, AT MOUNT VERNON
First downs: Solon 9, MV 10
Rushes-yards: Solon 36-90, MV 35-86
Passing yards: Solon 24, MV 134
Passing: Solon 3-11-2, MV 10-21-0
Total yards: Solon 114, MV 220
Fumbles-lost: Solon 4-2, MV 1-0
Punts-average: Solon 6-31.7, MV 6-31.7
Penalties-yards: Solon 3-25, MV 5-35
Solon 0 0 0 0 — 0
Mount Vernon 7 3 0 7 — 17
MV — Jackson Hird 3 run (Ben Crock kick)
MV — FG Crock 29
MV — Joey Rhomberg 3 run (Crock kick)
Solon — Brett White 21-47, Blake Timmons 13-43, Barret Schade 1-2, Sean Stahle 1-(minus 2). Mount Vernon — Henry Ryan 24-77, Joey Rhomberg 6-9, Caden Stimmel 1-6, Jackson Hird 2-3, Team 2-(minus 9).
Solon — Timmons 3-11-2-24. Mount Vernon — Rhomberg 10-21-0-134.
Solon — Stahle 2-15, Cole Buffington 1-9. Mount Vernon — Jensen Meeker 2-71, Brady Erickson 2-39, Evan Brase 2-10, Stimmel 2-9, Austin Deeb 1-7, Ryan 1-(minus 2).