Your Prep Sports
SOLON – As soon as Ty Bell saw the playoff football pairings the Solon quarterback knew what he was going to have to do.
The Class 3A postseason path for Bell and the Spartans included a potential quarterfinal rematch with Davenport Assumption.
The Knights handed Solon their only loss 34-7 in the season opener in Bell’s first career start.
With a postseason rematch a possibility Bell did what he really didn’t want to do – he turned on the game film and studied his week one performance against Assumption.
“When I heard that we could play Assumption in the playoffs I went back and watched that game right away,” Bell said. “Every minute was tough, if I’m being honest.”
Bell completed 5-of-23 passes for nine yards with an interception in that season-opening loss.
Watching the film of that loss was nearly as tough for Bell as the game itself.
As tough as the debut performance was Bell made sure he hasn’t forgotten it.
Instead, Bell has used that game as a learning experience.
“It was hard to watch but it benefitted our team,” Bell said. “That game was humbling but it helped us get to where we are now.”
Where Solon is now is the UNI-Dome and the emergence of Bell is a big reason why the Spartans are making their second 3A semifinal appearance in the past three seasons.
In back-to-back playoff wins of Fort Madison and West Delaware Bell has completed 24-of-34 passes for 368 yards and five touchdowns without an interception.
“He has grown up a lot, he is just more comfortable and poised back there,” Solon coach Lucas Stanton said of Bell. “He has been through the fire now and early in the year he had never been through the fire.”
Bell is coming off the best game of his career in the quarterfinals.
Solon didn’t get a rematch with Assumption, instead they got a postseason meeting with WAMAC rival West Delaware for the third straight season.
Bell had his best game in a biggest game of the year completing 18-of-24 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-35 come-from-behind win for Solon.
“He’s played in big games against Mount Vernon, against Williamsburg and Benton and the moment on Friday wasn’t took big for him,” Stanton said. “His confidence has grown, he’s more comfortable and he is growing as a leader too which is super important for that position. His teammates really trust him too.”
After the loss to Assumption in opener Bell changed his preparation.
He locked in on film and practice and the results followed.
Bell passed for 145 yards and two touchdowns in week-three win over Central DeWitt and completed 9-of-12 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown in a win over Mount Vernon the following week.
“Preparation is a huge part, the first week I realized it’s a whole different game from youth football,” Bell said. “I had to get in the film room and practice hard and the coaches have been really supportive and my teammates have helped a lot. The chemistry that I have built with these guys have helped a lot.”
The longer the season goes on the better Bell and the Solon offense seem to get.
Solon is averaging 34.2 points per game during its current 10-game winning streak and has scored at least 36 points in each of its last four games.
The improvement of Bell has been a big part of that offensive growth.
“He is a guy in the offseason that doesn’t miss a day of lifting, plays multiple sports, competes and is just an outstanding kid,” Stanton said. “I think his character off the field shows out on the field.”
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Bell has completed 56 percent of his passes (86-of-155) on the season while throwing for 1,210 yards and 13 touchdowns with five interceptions.
Bell hasn’t thrown an interception in the last five games and has six touchdown passes in that span.
“He’s a film junkie, he makes the sacrifices to come in early and meet with coach (Noah) Sigwarth and they watch film together,” Stanton said. “Coach Sigwarth was a college quarterback himself so I think having that has been an awesome addition to our staff and he has really helped speed along that growth process.”