SOLON — The season’s first two weeks presented a crossroads.
Solon started 0-2 for the first time in more than 13 seasons and opened a new era under head coach Lucas Stanton. He presented players with two paths and the Spartans made a U-turn.
“Give a lot of credit to our kids,” Stanton said. “They took the leap of faith after the 0-2 start and said we refuse to go that direction. We are really going to get behind our staff and teammates to get this thing figured out. I’m really proud of them and how they responded after the start, because it would have been easy to go that other direction.”
Sixth-ranked Solon won its sixth straight game, defeating Oelwein, 41-12, in the second round of the Class 2A football playoffs Friday night at home. The Spartans will host Independence (6-1) next Friday in the round of 16.
“We felt like things were going really well,” Stanton said. “We were improving every single week.
“That’s what you want this time of year, but we also want to see some things go better than last night in certain areas.”
Solon led throughout and built a 27-0 halftime lead, adding touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters. Sophomore quarterback Blake Timmons passed for 157 yards and a touchdown. Colton Hoffman had 119 receiving yards on five catches and a TD.
The Spartans amassed 149 yards on the ground with Timmons, Carson Miller, Jackson Ryan and Hayden Taylor rushing for scores. Sean Stahle added an 81-yard kickoff return for a TD.
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“We didn’t feel we were particularly sharp in all areas,” Stanton said. “I think that’s part of dealing with that bye week. Like we told the kids, a win is a win this time of year.”
Alburnett advances again
Alburnett entered this season with just two postseason victories in the program’s history. Both came in 2013.
The Pirates doubled that postseason win total, beating Belle Plaine, 25-12 in a Class A second-round game.
The Pirates (6-2) scored 25 unmatched points after falling behind by two scores. Shane Neighbor rushed for two TDs, including a 56-yard jaunt. Hunter Caves connected with Kale Rose on a TD pass as well.
Eddie Burgess scores 8 TDs
For the second time in three weeks, Montezuma quarterback Eddie Burgess scored eight touchdowns against Lone Tree. He threw for five scores and rushed for three more in a 54-14 victory in 8-player second-round action. Burgess had 319 total yards with 252 passing.
In the regular-season finale, Burgess scored eight TDs against the Lions. He leads the state with 60 total TDs and is tied for first with 37 passing. He also ranks first in passing yards (2,227) and all-purpose yards (3,328).
The Braves are 8-0 and host BGM (8-1) in the third round of the playoffs.
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