MP football scores first, falls to Solon
The Mt. Pleasant football team marched down the field on its opening drive Friday, scoring its first touchdown and taking its first lead of the season.
The lead didn’t last long, however, and the Panthers fell to Solon, 45-13, in their final non-district game.
The Panthers will open district play at Ft. Madison on Friday.
Last week, Mt. Pleasant focused on improving its offensive line, which struggled in the first two games of the season.
The Panthers needed to allow more time to throw, more room to run, more rest for the defense — and ultimately, they needed to get someone into the end zone.
And early in the first quarter of Friday’s contest, Mt. Pleasant was able to do exactly that.
The Panthers started on their own 27-yard line. Cole Phillips caught a 7-yard pass, and Carson Remick ran four yards for a first down — the first of nine rushing first downs on the night.
“I thought the entire offensive line responded well — we looked like a unit that could move the ball, and we did,” Coach Shawn Striegel said. “They have set high goals for themselves. They wanted 10 rushing first downs on the night, and we got nine. And they will continue to set big goals.”
A sack set the Panthers back a few yards, but on second and 24, Josh Larson found some room to run and gave the Panthers another first down.
Larson then made an eight-yard catch, and Remick carried to the Solon 16-yard line.
Larson then rushed to the nine, and Remick ran to the five.
Remick picked up three more yards on his next rushing attempt, and after an imcomplete pass to Phillips, the senior fullback got past the goal line for a Panther touchdown.
Zoom Gwamna’s PAT attempt was good, and the Panthers went ahead, 7-0.
Solon responded quickly, scoring on its first possession to tie the score just a minute after the Panthers got on the board.
Mt. Pleasant got the ball back, but their possession didn’t last long — an interception put Solon just seven yards from the end zone, threatening to take a lead.
It was the Panther defense’s turn to step up. The Spartans got as far as the 3-yard line, but Mt. Pleasant shut them down on fourth and goal, taking over on their own 4-yard line.
Solon did get back into the end zone before too long, putting another seven points on the board early in the second quarter. They led 28-7 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Mt. Pleasant took over on downs at the Solon 40-yard line.
Dustin Amos ran for the first down, and after two incomplete passes, Remick ran to the Solon 21 for a first down.
After one more incomplete pass, Amos found Phillips in the end zone for another Mt. Pleasant touchdown.
Mt. Pleasant wasn’t able to do any more damage, but the Spartans tacked on another 17 points before time expired.
On the night, Remick led the Panthers on the ground with 69 yards. Larson picked up 34 yards early in the contest, but was taken out for a shoulder injury in the first quarter.
“We’re being optimistic, but he could be out for some significant time,” Striegel said.
The Panthers also lost Tony Cristoforo, who incurred his second concussion and will likely be out for the rest of the season.
“He was playing extremely well,” Striegel said.
Amos gained 17 rushing yards in Friday’s game and was 5-for-15 passing for 51 yards.
Phillips had two receptions for 28 yards; Justin Dilks, Blake Knudsen and Larson each caught a pass as well.
Defensively, Remick had a team-high 17 tackles for the Panthers. Tyler Ruby had 11, followed by Amos, Ben Canby, Dilks and Austin Smith with 10 tackles apiece.
“We had some kids (on defense) who played their best game of the season — Austin Smith played well, and Justin Chalupa was lights out at corner,” Striegel said. “But we still need to improve on our technique and our tackling; we can’t allow 40 points and expect to beat the Bloodhounds.”