SOLON — On paper, Friday’s night’s Class 3A quarterfinal contest between Pella and No. 3 Solon was supposed to be a shootout.
Solon’s defense had other plans.
The Spartans (11-0) held Pella (8-3) to just 194 yards of total offense (160 yards below Pella’s season per game average) and forced four turnovers en route to a 24-0 victory and a date at the UNI-Dome next Thursday.
Solon will face No. 6 Sergeant Bluff-Luton (10-1) at 8:30 p.m.
“Our defense was outstanding and our special teams were great,” Solon Coach Kevin Miller said. “I’m just really happy for our kids.”
The Spartans’ defense struck early as Michael Brogammer recovered a Pella fumble at Solon’s 44-yard line on Pella’s opening possession.
Cam Miller then led the offense down the field, shifting from the left hash to the right corner of the end zone to find pay dirt from 13 yards out. Miller’s first score capped an 11-play, 56-yard opening drive for Solon.
On Solon’s next possession, Miller found dual-threat Jace Andregg on an out-route that resulted in a 19-yard TD.
Just before the end of the first quarter, Solon’s offense got stuck at Pella’s 16-yard line. Cael O’Neill, who’d only attempted one field goal all season, came through from 33 yards out, and with plenty of room to spare.
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“We get inside the 20, we have the utmost confidence that he’s going to put it through,” Miller said. “And having a guy like that when you get to the level that we’re competing at now, you have to have those guys.”
Solon’s defense didn’t budge in the second quarter, either.
The Spartans held Pella out of the end zone after the Dutch had driven the ball down to the Solon 9. Solon forced a turnover on downs as Pella failed a fourth-and-2 attempt.
Starting the drive at its own 9-yard line, Solon drove the ball 91 yards, capped by a 5-yard TD run from Miller, to extend the lead to 24-0.
Miller finished the game with 104 rushing yards and two TDs. He also completed 5 of his 9 passes for 58 yards and a touchdown.
“I thought Cam did a really good job of running the football and managing the game,” Miller said. “Every time we snap the football, he (Cam) has the ability to make two or three different audibles. We give him a lot of freedom to make some of the audibles and he does a great job of reading the defense and acting accordingly.”
Seamus Poynton capped the first half off by intercepting Pella quarterback Ryan Mace, who entered the game having thrown for 1,658 yards this season, at Solon’s 24-yard line.