SOLON — Play one-on-one against A.J. Coons with a short defender, and pay a hefty price.
Coons hauled in 11 receptions for 153 yards and scored three touchdowns as Class 3A fifth-ranked Solon extended its dominance of 2A No. 5 Mount Vernon, 34-14, in a non-district football game Friday night at Spartan Stadium.
“(Mount Vernon) brings a lot of people, and if you play us to run, we have guys that can make plays,” Solon Coach Kevin Miller. “And if you play one-on-one? We’re going to take advantage.”
Cam Miller hit Coons on a 61-yard fly pattern on the second play of the game, the Spartans collected six takeaways and defeated the Mustangs (0-1) in the season opener for the 16th straight year.
“We have an explosive offense, but there’s still so much more we can do,” Coons said. “I think we can take it to another level from here.”
As was the case last year (in a 19-0 win at Mount Vernon’s Ash Park), the Spartans jumped on their rivals immediately. Solon scored three touchdowns in the first 11 minutes, led by as much as 34-0, then coasted home from there.
“It’s a rivalry game. It’s good to get that first touchdown and get the momentum,” Coons said. “It’s a big adjustment. We lost some really good guys from last year. But I like this team a lot.”
Solon quarterback Cam Miller completed 14 of 23 passes for 180 yards. Coons was the primary target.
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He had a second touchdown taken away — he was whistled for offensive pass interference — on the Spartans’ second possession, but caught another one, a 27-yard strike from Miller, the next time Solon had the ball.
Late in the first quarter, the Mustangs botched a snap in a punting situation and Solon’s Adam Bock recovered in the end zone to make it 20-0.
Miller’s third TD pass of the half was a screen pass in the middle of the field to Hunter Kula, who sprinted 23 yards, and Solon took a 27-0 lead into the locker room.
Coons’ final touchdown was a 3-yarder in the third quarter that pushed the margin to 34-0. Mount Vernon got a pair of fourth-quarter TDs from Paul Ryan and Garrett Hormann.
Solon is at West Liberty next week; Mount Vernon hosts Center Point-Urbana.
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