Graeson Dall chases a Regina ball carrier in a game Sept. 2. Jackie Blake Jensen/IC Pixx. By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – The plan was for Graeson Dall to be an integral part of the Solon offense this season.
Dall and the Spartans followed that plan to perfection for about 20 minutes.
Dall caught four passes for 45 yards and ran for a touchdown in the first half of Solon’s season-opening win over Mount Vernon before a broken hand sent Dall to the sideline and threw a wrench into the plan.
“It was frustrating,” Dall said. “Especially the way it started in that first quarter but you just have to deal with it.”
Solon senior Graeson DallThe broken hand kept Dall from fitting into the Spartans’ plans on offense but it wouldn’t keep the Solon senior off the field.
A week after sustaining the injury Dall started at defensive back with his right arm in a cast and heavily wrapped in padding.
Dall didn’t just play through the injury he was an impact player.
He twice led Regina in tackles while sporting the bulky club on his hand collecting 8.5 in a loss to Regina and 9.5 stops in a road win over Washington.
“The first few quarters I played with the cast it was a little difficult wrapping guys up,” Dall said. “Once I got the hang of it that club was going every which way.”
Despite his injury Dall leads Solon with 23.5 tackles on the season including a team-high 18 solo stops.
In last week’s 34-3 win over Oskaloosa Dall collected his first interception of the season despite the encumbrance of his cast.
“To play with a cast on we knew that he could play defense but to play in the manner that he performed says a lot,” Solon coach Kevin Miller said. “He’s been a pillar on our defense.”
The interception wasn’t the only way Dall made his presence felt last week.
In his first offensive action since the opener Dall ran three times for eight yards and caught a pass for three yards.
The numbers weren’t impressive but Dall was just happy to be a part of the offense again.
“I wasn’t nervous I just have to get back in the rhythm of things,” Dall said “Once I do that I think I’ll be fine.”
There is a reason Solon expected to make Dall a centerpiece of its offensive plan.
Last year the 5-foot-10, 160-pounder was second on the team with 23 receptions and rushed for four touchdowns.
Dall also showed the ability to make the big play, averaging 26 yards per kick return including an 83-yard touchdown return against Cedar Rapids Xavier.
With his hand healed and the bulky cast gone Miller expects Dall to be a bigger part of offense for Class 3A No. 7 Solon (4-1) beginning with Friday’s 7:30 p.m. game at Fort Madison (0-5).
The return of Dall provides another weapon to a Solon offense that has topped the 400-yard mark twice in its last three games and is averaging better than 37 points per game during that stretch.
“He’s a kid that can make plays,” Miller said. “He’s a versatile athlete that can run it, he can catch it and we plan on utilizing him in different capacities and different roles to utilize his special skill set. He just gives us that different dimension of kind of a home run hitter that has that ability at any time to make a big play.”
Dall returns to offense ready to pick up where he left off in the first half against Mount Vernon.
Maybe even more ready.
“I’m trying to take advantage of this opportunity, every single day I practice catching with one hand,” Dall said. “When I get back I think I’m going to be stronger than ever so I’m just using it to my advantage.”