SOLON, Iowa - Don't discount Solon yet. Not if the Spartans continue to play defense like that.
The sixth-ranked Spartans held No. 1 Williamsburg to 83 yards of total offense and upended the Raiders, 22-7, in a Class 3A District 6 football game Friday night at Spartan Stadium.
"I lot of people discounted us after the second week of the season (a loss to Iowa City Regina), but we're not the same team now," said Solon Coach Kevin Miller.
The 2A state champion in 2007, 2008 and 2009, Solon was forced up to 3A this year after an enrollment surge.
"I think we proved to 3A that we can hang with them," said quarterback J.J. Hanus.
Solon (6-1 overall, 5-0 district) scored touchdowns on its first possession of each half, then got the clincher when Colin Stebral returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown with a minute to go.
It was a fitting finish for a dominating defense.
"They had three wide receivers on the right side, and they like to go to the backside post," Stebral said. "I jumped on it and got it."
Williamsburg (6-1, 4-1) entered the game with a 47.8-point scoring average, the best in 3A. The Raiders left with a black eye.
Their only score came on a 10-yard drive after a long punt return, a 9-yard quarterback scramble by Kelly O'Rourke that brought the Raiders within 12-7 midway through the third quarter.
They never crossed midfield again. Williamsburg netted 19 rushing yards on 26 carries.
Marshall Koehn, who missed a PAT and a 39-yard field goal in the first half, answered by drilling a 46-yarder with 7:04 to play, giving the Spartans a 15-7 lead.
Koehn's punt went out of bounds at the Williamsburg 9 with 1:20 to go, then Strebral gathered the pick and scored the six on the next play.
The Spartans dominated the first half, outgaining the Raiders by a 196-37 margin, but had only a 6-0 lead to show for it.
Derrick Loveless' 2-yard touchdown run capped the first drive of the game, a 13-play, 59-yard march. But Loveless went out later in the half with an ankle or shin injury and did not return.
Hanus was hurt late in the first half. He returned after halftime and threw for 175 yards while running for 87.
Travis Brimeyer's 6-yard TD run made it 12-0 with less than 1 1/2 minutes elapsed in the second half.
Solon finished with a tidy and balanced 325 yards 150 rushing, 175 passing. But defense carried the day.
"That's Spartan football," Miller said. "I knew our defense was capable. We've got athletes that present problems. We've got athleticism and speed. And we did a great job tackling."