The Decorah defense kept Black in check most of the game Friday. Pictured on this tackle are Dustin Cary (left, No. 20) and Matt Whittle (No. 77). (Photo by Rick Fromm)
The clock struck midnight on the Decorah Vikings' storybook streak of 25 wins Friday night in Class 3A quarterfinal action as visiting Solon held on for the 28-20 victory.
The loss, the first since the 2011 championship game for Decorah, ends the Vikes' season at 11-1. Solon, also 11-1 and going for their sixth state title, will battle Washington (11-1) in the semifinals Thursday, Nov. 14.
Decorah, also with five state titles, was ranked No. 2 in the final regular season rankings, and Solon was unranked.
The Vikings, who trailed the entire game, had a chance in the final minutes to tie the game; however, the Solon defense stepped up to hand Viking seniors their first loss in a varsity uniform.
"They went above and beyond what anybody expected. I thought it was a tremendous, fabulous, herculean effort. It was just a great, never-say-die type of attitude," said Coach Bill Post.
Excitement, then heartbreak
Decorah took the opening kickoff and drove down the field. However, the drive ended on a fumble, recovered by Solon at their own 13.
The Spartans, led by their strong running quarterback Jacob Black, marched down the field on a 16 play, 87-yard drive, capped by 12-yard pass from Black to Nathan Hawkins. With the point-after, it was 7-0 Solon.
After both teams were forced to punt on their next possessions, Decorah's offense got on the board. Mixing the pass with the rush, the Vikings scored on a 2-yard Bryce Pierce run into the end zone. After a false start on the point-after attempt, the kick failed, preserving the Solon lead at 7-6 with 6:40 remaining.
Solon used Black and Brandon Kramer to move down the field on its next drive, with Black scoring on a 4-yard rush.
Decorah tried to score before the half, but a pass to Kyle Kane came up 8 yards short of the goal line as time ran out.
Solon got the ball first to start the second half, but Bryton Meyer put a stop to a drive, picking off the pass at the Viking 25. Late in the third, Solon was back in the end zone on a Black to Hawkins 65-yard pass, going up 21-6.
Decorah went to the air in the fourth, with Pierce moving the ball down the field before finding Kane for the 12-yard TD to cut the Solon lead to 21-13.
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