Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Lucas Stanton acknowledges there are some positions to fill entering his third season leading the Solon football program.
Solon returns a modest seven starters from an 11-1 team that reached the Class 3A state semifinals a year ago.
The offensive and defensive fronts and the secondary all need restocked after heavy losses to graduation.
That is easily enough to stress a coaching staff.
The stress reliever for Stanton and the Spartans is what returns especially in the offensive backfield.
Senior standouts Sean Stahle and Blake Timmons return in the offensive backfield and join junior linebacker Brett White to give the Spartans a trio of returning all-staters.
“When you have two guys like that, with that much experience and that much athletic ability in the back field it’s definitely a strength,” Stanton said of Stahle sand Timmons. “Having those two back there makes us feel really good about what we are doing offensively having that dual threat back there and then having a dual threat quarterback as well.”
Together Timmons and Stahle spearheaded an explosive Solon offense that scored 35 or more points nine times while averaging 39.3 points per game last season.
Combined Stahle and Timmons accounted for nearly 3,900 yards from scrimmage and scored 49 touchdowns.
“Blake and I played together all the time until our sophomore year when he was on varsity but right when we got back together last year things really clicked again,” Stahle said. “I think we are even more in sync now.”
In his first varsity season Stahle seized control of the starting running back spot and then exploded, rushing for 1,138 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Stahle also caught 12 passes for 305 yards and three scores and returned two punts and a kickoff for a score.
“It seemed like the more I played the better I played,” Stahle said. “The more I get into the game, the more hits I take the better I get.”
Timmons returns along side Stahle in the backfield at quarter after racking up 2,441 yards from scrimmage and 29 touchdowns last season.
The question entering the season is the guys in front of Stahle and Timmons.
“We lost five seniors on the offensive line,” Stanton said. “Every year offensive line is a spot that unless you return all five starters that you are always concerned about because that’s where it starts.”
Seniors Adam Smith (6-4,250) and Mason Scott (6-3, 215) saw a lot of action on the offensive line a year ago and will look to anchor an restocked group this fall.
“I think we are going to be really solid up front and that’s where it all starts,” Timmons said. “They do a majority of the work for us.”
Timmons will have a new group of receivers this season with Stahle the only Spartan returning with more than six receptions.
Senior Oaken Foster (6-2, 175) will look to be more involved after catching six passes for 106 yards and a score last season.
White (6-0, 210) returns to lead the Solon defense after earning all-state honors after posting team-highs in both tackles and tackles for loss from his linebacker spot.
Mac McCarty (6-0, 180) and Austin Bell (6-1, 185) are both back with starting experience on defense.
The question is in the secondary.
“Our secondary is one that hasn’t been tested,” Stanton said. “It is all new faces and not very many guys that even played a lot that are stepping in so there are going to be some guys in some new spots.”
Solon won 11 straight to open last season before a jolting end to the season in the form of a 42-0 loss to Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley in the 3A semifinals.
A similar start to the season with a very different ending is the goal for a motivated group of Spartans.
“I think all of us have always wanted to win a state championship and last year losing in the Dome that bad just put a chip on our shoulder to be even better this year,” Stahle said. “I think a state championship goal is our number one goal but making the dome is always the thing that we want to do first.”