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DENVER - When you're a football player, it's okay to glance in the mirror once in a while.

But in a battle of mirror-image opponents, it was the Solanco Golden Mules outrunning the Cocalico Eagles by a score of 35-14 Friday night at Cocalico High School to clinch at least a share of the Section Two title with one week to play.

Three separate Mules cracked the 100-yard plateau as Solanco (6-0 L-L, 9-0 overall) outgained Cocalico (3-3, 4-5) 419-160 on the ground, much of both teams' yardage coming on the edge.

"It's just all about doing your job," said junior Darren Whearry, who paced the Mules triple-option with 122 yards on just 12 totes. "The outside, you always watch it (the play) develop and once you do that you just hit it and go."

Whearry rushed five times for 29 yards on Solanco's opening drive before fullback Robbie Hassel (13-110) ran 19-yards up the middle for the opening score.

The Eagles answered before the end of the first quarter, however, marching 58-yards in 12 plays. The drive was setup by the outside running of D.J. Fabiani (20-89) and capped-off by Hunter High's 10-yard burst.

But Whearry scampered 62-yards to pay-dirt early in the second quarter to take lead for good.

"They were pinching us real hard inside, so Hassel wasn't going to have big game and I kind of knew that going in," Mules head coach Tony Cox said. "That's why we got the ball to the A-backs, Darren and Prosper (Eguzouwa), and they got the ball on the edge and got yards."

Eguzouwa contributed 74 yards on 8 carries while quarterback Noah McCardell threw his only completion of the game in the second quarter, a 38-yard touchdown to Troy Miller for a 21-7 halftime lead.

By that point, the Solanco defense had put a damper on the Eagles' veer offense, led by senior linebackers Gary Doubts and Kyle Williams.

"The triple option is really hard," Doubts said. "We're just taught to read our guards, and the guards take you to the play. Believe in the read, that's it."

Doubts was in on at least 13 tackles for the Mules, while Williams had at least six including a second-half stretch with 3 consecutive stops to force a Cocalico turnover on downs.

"(Williams) came to me one practice and he said, 'coach, quit blowing the whistle, we want to hit,'" Cox recounted. "I said fine, we'll go until someone's on the ground and they just play like that."

Solanco's lead grew to 28-7 on Hassel's 14-yard touchdown following a successful onside kick to open the half.

With less than 10 minutes to play, an Eagles' punt pinned the Mules on their own 6-yard line, but McCardell (10-113) promptly took the next snap and raced around the right end 94-yards for a 35-7 lead.

His Eagles' counterpart, Dante Haines, completed 10 of 16 passes but for only 65 yards, rushing in from the 1-yard line to close the scoring with 6:35 to play. Cocalico will face Lancaster Catholic next week as they seek a berth in the district playoffs.

Solanco, meanwhile, will host Manheim Central (5-1 in Section Two) in the season finale in the hopes of clinching the Mules' first outright title since 1990.

"We've been telling the fellas about staying focused," Cox said, more interested in keeping things moving forward than the section title. "We just have to get prepared for Manheim Central and what happens in the playoffs and stuff like that, we go week to week."

Which means for the Mules, there's little time to stop and admire your reflection.

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SOLANCO COCALICO

FIRST DOWNS 16 17

RUSHES / YARDS 43-419 49-160

PASSING YARDS 38 65

TOTAL YARDS 457 225

COMP / ATT / INT 1-4-0 10-16-0

SACKED / YDS LOST 0-0 0-0

FUMBLES / LOST 2-1 1-1

PUNTS / AVG 3-40.7 4-28.3

PENALTIES / YARDS 8-90 1-5

SCORE BY QUARTER:

|Q1| |Q2| |Q3| |Q4| --- FINAL

SOL 07 14 07 07 --- 35

COC 07 00 00 07 --- 14

SCORING SUMMARY: Q1 - SOL - 7:25 D. Hassel 19-yd run (C. Bleacher kick) 7-0

Q1 - COC - 2:10 H. High 10-yd run (M. McKinney kick) 7-7

Q2 - SOL - 11:25 D. Whearry 62-yd run (C. Bleacher kick) 14-7

Q2 - SOL - 2:10 T. Miller 38-yd pass from N. McCardell (C. Bleacher kick) 21-7

Q3 - SOL - 10:33 D. Hassel 14-yd run (C. Bleacher kick) 28-7

Q4 - SOL - 9:41 N. McCardell 94-yd run (C. Bleacher kick) 35-7

Q4 - COC - 6:35 D. Haines 1-yd run (M. McKinney kick) 35-14

INDIVIDUAL STATS:

PASSING: SOL - N. McCardell 1-4-0-38

COC - D. Haines 10-16-0-65

RECEIVING: SOL - T. Miller 1-38

COC - M. Ulysse 4-21, T. Fichthorn 2-21, B. Sawyer 2-17, B. Heck 1-8, D. Fabiani 1-(-2)

RUSHING: SOL - D. Whearry 12-122, N. McCardell 10-113, D. Hassel 13-110, P. Eguzouwa 8-74

COC - D. Fabiani 20-89, H. High 10-34, D. Haines 14-13, B. Brubaker 1-11, T. Fichthorn 2-8, M. Ulysse 2-5

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