SOLON — A couple of turnovers held the Solon offense down.
Its defense made sure it did not end its prep football season.
“We just do what we do,” Solon senior defensive back Jax Flynn said after the third-ranked Spartans edged Iowa City Liberty, 14-7, in a Class 3A first round playoff game Friday night at Spartan Stadium. “We have been doing it all year. Just stick to the game plan with what the coaches have been telling us.”
Flynn was part of a crucial defensive stand in the fourth quarter for Solon (10-0). With the Spartans leading 14-7, Liberty mounted a drive from its 25-yard-line to the Solon 12. On fourth-and-2, Lightning tailback Max Tafolla was hit in the backfield by Flynn, then corralled for good by senior outside linebacker Seamus Poynton with 3:19 to go that returned the ball to Solon.
Liberty never got it back.
“It was huge,” Poynton said. “Guys really brought energy there. Jax Flynn and Michael Brogammer. And Lucas TePoel. Those three, they brought an energy right into our little defensive huddle and we knew that right then and there, that we need to be on our toes and we need to attack. That was the word of the week. Attack. And we attacked.”
The first half gave few indicators that this was to be a close contest. Solon raced to a 14-0 lead with touchdowns on its first two possessions, while Liberty managed just one first down until the last drive of the half.
An interception by Liberty senior defensive back Drake Woody, the second of two Solon turnovers in the first half, led to a six-play, 93-yard Lightning drive that ended with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Woody to junior receiver Kelby Telander with five seconds left in the half.
Suddenly, Liberty was within 14-7. But neither team scored in the second half.
“I will have to admit, we got a little conservative with the play-calling,” Solon Coach Kevin Miller said. “We got up, we had faith and trust in our defense. They bowed up when they needed to here in the fourth quarter.”
Quarterback Cam Miller ran for 139 yards and a touchdown for Solon, which will host a quarterfinal game next Friday against Pella (8-2).
Liberty ends its second season, a breakthrough season, at 7-3.
CLASS 3A FIRST ROUND PLAYOFFS
No. 1 Solon 14, No. 15 Iowa City Liberty 7
I.C. Liberty 0 7 0 0—7
Solon 7 7 0 0—14
SOL — Cam Miller 1 run (Cael O’Neill kick)
SOL — Jace Andregg 5 run (Cael O’Neill kick)
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ICL — Kelby Telander 32 pass from Drake Woody (Ryan Nugent kick)
RUSHING — I.C. Liberty: Max Tafolla 19-84, Kaleb Williams 6-47, Jack Ankenbauer 2-4, Drake Woody 1-7, Ben Kruger 2-2; Solon: Seamus Poynton 6-22, Cam Miller 27-139, Jace Andregg 5-26, Colton Hoffman 1-8, Jackson Ryan 3-19, Lucas TePoel 1-19.
PASSING — I.C. Liberty: Drake Woody 3-9-0-54; Solon: Cam Miller 12-15-1-97.
RECEIVING — I.C. Liberty: Ben Houselog 1-13, Ben Kruger 1-10, Kelby Telander 1-32; Solon: AJ Coons 3-39, Jace Andregg 4-23, Seamus Poynton 2-22, Cole Arduser 1-9, Lucas TePoel 1-6, Joe Stahle 1-8.