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Football: Back with the tractor

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Farmington survived a chaotic final few minutes to come away from Northfield with the Tractor Trophy in hand Friday night.

The eighth-ranked (Class 5A) Tigers overcame three interceptions, a bad long snap that led to a touchdown and a successful Raider onside kick in the final five minutes to retain the traveling trophy with a 27-20 victory over their Highway 3 rivals in a Missota Conference opener for both teams.

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Two strong quarters of offensive production gave the visitors some room for error. The Tigers, after settling for four field goals the previous week against Rochester Mayo, converted four drives into touchdowns over the second and third quarters to take a 27-13 lead.

After a quarterback sack by Alex Chadwick on fourth down put an end to Northfield's first-quarter threat, the Tiger offense drove 72 yards on 15 plays to set up quarterback Darren Beenken's six-yard touchdown run and make it 7-0.

Beenken's first interception then set up Northfield's first score, but Josh Boatwright blocked the extra-point to preserve the lead at 7-6.

Beenken then guided the offense 75 yards in the final two minutes of the half, completing four straight passes before running across the goal line from one yard out to make it 13-6 at the break.

The offense continued to click to open the second half. It took just seven plays for the Tigers to go 90 yards and score on running back Athen Ashton's four-yard jaunt.

Ashton later added another scoring run from two yards out to push the lead back to two touchdowns at 27-13 late in the third quarter. Ashton surpassed 100 yards for the first time this season, carrying the ball 24 times for 127 yards. Derek Klotter added 37 yards on four carries.

The Raiders moved back within a score with 4:31 left in the game when a snap sailed past punter Reid Taubeunehim and into the end zone. Taubenheim retrieved it and kicked it sideways, but the ball was recovered by the home team in the end zone for a touchdown, suddenly making the score 27-20.

Northfield then recovered the ensuing onside kick and drove the ball inside the Tiger 10-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.

Beenken was able to kneel out the clock to secure the Tractor Trophy for the Tigers for the second straight year. The senior quarterback finished 16 of 21 for 199 yards through the air. He threw to Jordan DeCroock five times for 76 yards and completed three passes each to CJ Wynings and Mac Bassett.

Mason Auge led the defense with 11 tackles and Godfrey Mpetey added eight.

The Tigers are back in action tomorrow night when they host Red Wing. The Wingers defeated the Tigers 27-19 in Week 2 of last season, but are coming off a 30-6 home loss to Shakopee last week.

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Matt Steichen
Matt Steichen has been the sports editor at the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He has previously been a sports writer at the Sioux City Journal and Le Mars Daily Sentinel and the sports editor at the Austin Daily Herald.
(651) 460-6606
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