SOLON — In the wisdom of Wes Sleeper, punting is a sign of failure.
“You never want to punt,” he said. “When you punt, it means you got stopped for three downs.”
Solon stopped itself on occasion last night. But Mount Vernon couldn’t do it. The Spartans more than overcame four turnovers, racking up 432 yards of total offense in a 49-10 pasting of the Mustangs in a non-district football game at Spartan Stadium. Two-time defending Class 2A state champions, the Spartans (1-0) won for the 28th straight time and pushed their winning streak over Mount Vernon to seven in a row.
In the postgame huddle, Solon Coach Kevin Miller called it “one of the better (season-openers) I’ve been associated with.
“We had a number of turnovers, and that’s not the type of team we are,” he said. “But we did some good things. Overall, our execution was solid.”
Solon’s 12 possessions consisted of seven touchdowns, four turnovers and a march that ended 9 yards short of the goal line before the first half expired. University of Iowa commitment James Morris netted 152 yards on 13 carries, scoring touchdowns of 4, 9, 23 and 34 yards.
Sleeper took over the quarterback role from the graduated Matt Morrison, and the Solon attack didn’t miss a beat. Sleeper rushed for 95 yards and passed for 80.
“I felt very comfortable back there,” he said. “I’ve been practicing since last season. I’ve been getting a lot of (repetitions), and I know the plays pretty well.”
Solon led, 35-0, late in the first half, settled for a 35-7 halftime margin, then put the 35-point, continuous-clock rule into effect on Andy Ashton’s 5-yard touchdown run with 5:25 left in the third quarter.
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Matt Winder rushed for 146 yards on 22 carries for the Mustangs. Fifteen of Mount Vernon’s 50 offensive plays went for negative yardage.
“We pride ourselves a lot on defense,” Miller said. “We’ve got kids that can run to the ball.”
Solon travels to Sigourney-Keota next week. Mount Vernon hosts Iowa City Regina.