The Solon Comets football team was back to square one.
After its ween over Twinsburg on Sep. 24, Solon though it would spark the second half of their season.
But the Comets took a step back in a 35-13 loss to Greater Cleveland Conference rival Brunswick last Friday night at Brunswick AutoMart Stadium.
“It’s usually a tough game against Brunswick no matter what year it is,” said coach Brian Wisniewski. “It doesn’t matter who is better or what the record it is it’s always a physical game against them.”
The loss last Friday night marked Solon’s first loss to the Blue Devils since it joined the GCC. Since the Comets (2-5, 0-2) became a member of the conference, they won all five games against Brunswick.
After a scoreless first quarter, Solon took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter when junior quarterback Charlie Bubonics connected with sophomore wide receiver Brian McQuaide on a 35-yard touchdown pass.
“Charlie made a nice play in the pocket,” said Wisniewski. “He stepped up. It was a broken play but he found Brian across the middle. Brian made a nice catch and run after it for a touchdown.”
The 5-foot-10 sophomore has made the most of his playing time in his first year as a full-time starter on the varsity squad.
McQuaide led all Solon receivers by catching four passes for 63 yards and one touchdown.
“Brian works extremely hard in practice,” said the first-year Solon coach. “No matter if it’s a drill or team set, he’s looking to get better and make our team better and I think it’s helped him last Friday night. For a sophomore, he’s pretty talented. He’s still got some things to work on with his game but he’s got the mindset to become a really good receiver.”
The Blue Devils evened things up at 7-7 when senior quarterback Ethan Fritz hit senior wideout J.D. Serwatka on a 41-yard touchdown strike.
“Serwatka got on top of our defensive back,” noted Wisniewski. “He opened his hips up and made a move to the inside and Fritz made a nice throw. It was a good catch. They were close on some plays in the first quarter but much like us they were a little out of sync but things started to click for them on that play.”
Solon’s offense managed only 55 yards in the first half.
“Brunswick is always a physical defense,” said Wisniewski. “It always attacks you man-on-man and that’s what it did. Its defensive line was one of the strengths of its team and they certainly showed it on Friday night by how it attacked us.”
Meanwhile, the Brunswick offense found success in the third quarter on a 9-yard touchdown reception by senior wide receiver Connin Som to go up 14-7.
Brunswick continued to slowly pull away when it extended its lead to 21-7 in the fourth quarter on a 6-yard touchdown run by Fritz. The Blue Devils then blocked a punt and senior defensive lineman Luke Wilmot recovered ball in the end zone to go up 28-7.
“It was 21-7 at that point,” said Wisniewski. “We certainly felt there was enough time to get back in the game if we could get a defensive stop and score. Any time you give up a play like that on special teams it lets the wind out of your sails and that’s what it did.”
The Blue Devils’ defensive line had Bubonics running for his life all night. The 6-foot-0 quarterback was sacked a season high four times on Friday night.
“Charlie was definitely scrambling more than he has this season,” said Wisniewski. “Anytime you take a quarterback out of rhythm then that doesn’t exactly help you on offense because so much of the passing game is based on rhythm and timing. When you take away the rhythm and the timing, then you just rely on broken plays and it’s hard to make a living on that throughout the entire game.”
Bubonics completed 16 passes out of 33 attempts for 202 yard and one touchdown in the game.
The Blue Devils’ defense also made things tough for junior tailback E.J. Taylor. Brunswick shut him down by holding him to just 51 yards on 14 carries.
“It was tough to get E.J. going,” admitted Wisniewski. “He made a couple of nice runs but we just couldn’t consistently put together a few in a row the way we have in previous games. When you can’t establish the run game consistently that allows the opposition to play a little more coverage in the pass game. Any time you’re second and long or third and long you’re not exactly bringing as many guys in the box.”
The Comets’ only chance to get back into the game was to jumpstart the running game but Brunswick defensive line had other ideas.
“I thought Brunswick was pretty physical up front,” noted Wisniewski. “It was not blitzing much but was getting to Charlie and I think any time you can do that, you can play coverage. It did some nice things just trying to take away quick throws to our receivers but ultimately I thought there were plays there but we didn’t make them.”
The Comets will host conference foe Mentor on Oct. 8 at Stewart Field at 7 p.m.