Solon opens the OHSAA playoffs against St. Ignatius

Comets taking the field in last year's playoff game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Photo Courtesy of Doug Wolfe

Comets taking the field in last year’s playoff game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Photo Courtesy of Doug Wolfe

Ryan Funderburg, Contributing Writer

The 12 seeded Solon Comets (0-3) begin the OHSAA playoffs against the 5 seeded St. Ignatius Wildcats (1-3) Friday, Oct. 9, at Baldwin Wallace’s George Finnie Stadium.

This year due to the pandemic influencing the start of the season, the OHSAA decided to open the playoffs to everyone. Grouping teams into regions and creating 16-team brackets. This expansion benefits both teams, who wouldn’t typically make the playoffs in a normal season.

Last year, the Comets fell in the first round of the playoffs to Canton-Mckinley in a nail biter. But with the reconstruction of the playoffs, Senior Quarterback Pat McQuaide believes the team has an exciting opportunity in front of them.

“We have the opportunity to get this senior class its first win in the playoffs,” McQuaide said.

The Comets are still searching for their first victory, but seem to be trending in the right direction. Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Cody Coley believes the problem is more mental than physical.

“Our biggest issue is us,” Coley said. “Nobody has beat us, we’ve beat us.”

The Comets dropped a tough one to their conference rival Medina Bees to close their regular season last Friday.  Solon held the lead for three quarters but couldn’t finish it through the fourth.

Despite the loss there were some bright spots. Senior Running Back Khalil Eichelberger ran wild,  rushing for 238 yards and three touchdowns. The Comets also got back Junior Linebacker Markel Green to solidify the middle of the defense.

Green missed the first two games of the season and according to fellow Junior Linebacker Sam Patriarco is just the missing piece the defense needs.

“The defense struggled and lacked some confidence in the first two games,” Patriarco said. “Having Markell back lights a fire under the team. He’s the type of player that makes a strong impact wherever he goes.”

The St. Ignatius Wildcats team is coming off a 62-37 loss to St. Xavier. They have played a tough schedule so far with notable losses to St. Edward and Massillon Washington, but are not a team to overlook because of their record. Their dual quarterback offense combined with their physical line of scrimmage play can put points on the scoreboard in a hurry.

A common theme for the Comets that is preached from the coaches and on the back of every shirt is “Passion for the task at hand.” The Comets will take the field Friday night with a choice.

“At the end of the day they have to look into the mirror and decide we want to be the big, physical, fast team on the football field,” Coley said. “If they do that we will be alright.”