The Solomon Gorillas trailed the Lincoln Leopards 20-18 after three quarters of their football game Friday, but they scored 20 unanswered points for a 40-20 victory.
The Gorillas faced their toughest test of the season but their defense stepped up and limited the Leopards to 12 offensive plays in the final period that ended in a fumble, a pass interception and the final series ended on downs with less than two minutes left in the game.
Solomon used its talented trio of ball carriers and kept the ball on the ground against Lincoln. Solomon rushed for 305 yards on the night and netted six touchdowns.
Mason Demars led the attack with 23 carries for 145 yards and two scores. Mark Alyward toted the ball 22 times for 141 yards and three scores. Quarterback Colton Shirack ran 10 times for 24 yards and a touchdown against the Leopards. Shirack was three-for-nine passing for 17 yards on the night.
The Gorillas found the end zone first on a five-yard run by Shirack on a drive that took 12 plays and covered 40 yards. The point-after attempt failed and Solomon led 6-0.
The Leopards took the kickoff from Solomon returned the ball 55 yards for a Zac Walter touchdown. The two point conversion was good and Lincoln took an 8-6 lead with eight minutes left in the first period.
Lincoln added to its lead on another Walter touchdown run from the 4 yard line. The point after attempt failed but Lincoln led 14-6. The Leopard scoring drive took 12 plays and covered 50 yards and ran 6:07 off the clock.
Alyward scored for the Gorillas early in the second quarter on a three-yard run. The point-after attempt failed and Lincoln led 14-12 at halftime.
Solomon took a lead in the game with a Demars eight-yard run that capped a seven-play, 51-yard drive. The point-after attempt failed and the Gorillas had their second lead 18-14 with seven minutes left in the third period.
Lincoln answered on Walter’s third touchdown of the night on a 47-yard run. The point-after attempt failed and Lincoln led for the final time 20-18 at the end of the third quarter.
Solomon scored three times in the fourth period to remain undefeated and up its record to 5-0.
Aylward scored a 1-yard run on a drive that took seven plays and covered 17 yards. The point-after attempt failed but Solomon took the lead 24-20.
Demars scored on a 68- yard run and Aylward ran a two-point conversion to increase the Gorilla lead 32-20.
Solomon’s scoring drive started at its 8 yard line and took two plays to cover the 72 yards for the score.
The game clock showed 4:08 left in the game and Solomon had a final three play drive of 47 yards as Aylward scored a 38-yard touchdown run. Shirack threw a pass to Blake Homman for the two-point conversion and the Gorillas had rallied in the fourth quarter to win the game 40-20.
Alex Garrett led the Gorilla defense with 11 tackles with three being for a Lincoln loss of yardage. Aylward had nine tackles and Chase Fiske added seven. Demars intercepted the Leopard quarterback twice in the game and Homman recovered a Lincoln fumble.
The Gorillas host Canton-Galva Oct. 11.
Solomon 6 6 6 20 - 40
Lincoln 14 0 6 0 - 20
S – Shirack 5-yd run (run failed)
L – Walter 55-yd run (Joe Myers run)
L – Walter 4-yd run (run failed)
S – Aylward 4-yd run (run failed)
S – Demars 8-yd run (run failed)
L – Walter 47-yd run (pass fails)
S – Aylward 1-yd run (run failed)
S – Demars 68-yd run (Aylward run)
S – Aylward 38-yd run (Homman pass from Shirack)