Your Prep Sports
Lucas Stanton got his first look at the Highway 1 rivalry between Solon and Mount Vernon as a head coach on Friday.
The first-year Solon coach is certainly no stranger to the rivalry.
A 2002 Mount Vernon graduate, Stanton learned all about the importance of the annual showdown between the two rivals during his playing days.
After experiencing the emotion of the rivalry as a player Stanton made an effort in the days leading up to Solon’s 42-14 win on Friday to make sure in his first experience on the Solon side of the series the emphasis stayed on the players not the new coach.
“It means a lot to me but honestly it means a lot to our kids and that’s what I tried to stay focused on all week,” Stanton said. “I didn’t bring it up to them at all week, I told our coaches I didn’t want them to say anything about me being a Mount Vernon guy, it’s about the kids. They like this rivalry and I didn’t want to make it about me. It’s about the kids and they like this rivalry.
Stanton won’t forget his first time calling the shots as a head coach in the series any time soon.
Solon (4-2) opened the game marching 72 yards for a touchdown on 11 consecutive running plays and cruised to a 42-14 over fifth-ranked and previously unbeaten Mount Vernon (5-1).
The win was the 18th straight in the series for Solon with each of the last four wins over the Mustangs coming by at least 20 points.
“When you play towards the end of the season and they are 5-0 and we are on a three-game winning streak and it is for what we hope is a district title it adds a little flavor to it,” Stanton said. “It’s a little more exciting than when it was played the first game of the year.”
The win over the Mustangs was the fourth straight for Solon following back-to-back losses to top-five, unbeaten opponents Williamsburg and Washington to open the season.
Solon averaged 147 rushing yards per game during its 0-2 start but has found an identity in a punishing power running game during district play.
The Spartans are averaging 343 rushing yards per game during their four-game winning streak after rolling up 387 yards on the ground in the win over Mount Vernon.
“The offense started off slow and we had to keep getting better,” Solon senior offensive lineman Zach Harp said. “We were all trying to learn everything at the start of the season but we’ve repped it in practice and now the offense is good.”
Sophomore quarterback Blake Timmons and senior tailback Jackson Ryan each eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the win over Mount Vernon and junior tailback Hayden Taylor scored three touchdowns as Solon averaged 7.2 yards per carry.
Ryan has rushed for a team-high 698 yards and six touchdowns, Timmons has run for 481 yards and six scores and Taylor has 394 yards and four scores.
“Coming out and running the ball like that, that was a little bit by design for this game but that’s also who we are,” Stanton said. “We think that’s what we can be as a team.”
What Can’t He Do?: That’s the question of City High junior jack of all trades Gable Mitchell. A two-way starter at defensive back and receiver for the second straight season Mitchel showed his versatility in the Little Hawks return to the field against Linn-Mar on Friday.
Mitchell accounted for 205 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in the 50-36 loss to the Lions, throwing a touchdown pass, running for a score and catching a touchdown pass.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Mitchell threw a 71-yard touchdown strike to Jovan Harris, had five rushes for 14 yards and a score and caught four passes for 120 yards including a 45-yard touchdown grab.
Mitchell also made seven tackles on defense. You can add special teams to Mitchell’s list of duties as well. On the season he is averaging 25 yards per kick off return and nearly 36 yards per punt.
Shut Down D: Senior quarterback Gavin Hierseman tossed the game-winning touchdown pass in the final seconds for West Branch on Friday. However, it was the Bear defense that deserves the game ball from Friday’s 28-21 come-from-behind win over Durant.
Durant sophomore tailback Nolan DeLong entered the game leading Class 1A in rushing but West Branch limited to DeLong to 20 yards on 13 carries.
After allowing 254 rushing yards a game in its first two games of the season West Branch is giving up just 73 yards per game on the ground over the past three games.
Offensive performer of the week: Coming off a three-week layoff West High senior quarterback Marcus Morgan played one of the best games of his career.
Morgan completed 10-of-23 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns, rushing for 71 yards and a score and returned an interception for a touchdown in a 35-23 win at ninth-ranked Dubuque senior.
Best of the rest: Clear Creek Amana senior running back Alex Figueroa rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries in a 37-7 win over Oskaloosa.
Solon sophomore quarterback Blake Timmons completed 5-of-8 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 148 yards and a score in a 42-14 win over Mount Vernon.
City High senior quarterback Raph Hamilton passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 74 yards and a score in a 50-36 loss to Linn-Mar.
Defensive performer of the week: West High senior linebacker Kalen Haworth didn’t take any time to knock off the rust following a three-week layoff.
Haworth had a team-high 11.5 tackles, including five solo stops in a 35-23 win over Dubuque Senior. Haworth had 1.5 tackles for loss and half a sack in the road win over the Rams.
Best of the rest: Liberty High junior Griffin Kraft had eight solo stops and two tackles for loss among his team-high 11.5 tackles in a 48-14 loss to Cedar Rapids Prairie.
City High sophomore linebacker Ben Kueter had 10.5 tackles, including nine solo stops, and picked off a pass in a 50-36 loss to Linn-Mar.
Solon senior defensive end Ben Cusick had 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles in a 42-14 win over Mount Vernon.