Football: Farmington Tigers are stars of the Missota
The Farmington football team got to celebrate a couple of victories Friday night.
The first was a 41-28 shootout over Holy Angels that sent the team's seniors off in winning fashion and capped a perfect 4-0 mark on the Tiger Stadium turf this season. The second came about 10 minutes after the final whistle when, with the Tigers gathered at midfield, athletic director Jon Summer delivered the news that Shakopee had defeated Chanhassen, 24-14, giving seventh-ranked (Class 5A) Farmington at least a share of its first Missota Conference title since the 2008 season.
Week 2 of that season was also the last time the Tigers scored as many points in a game as they did Friday night.
At 6-1 overall and 5-1 in the league, the Tigers moved a game up on Chanhassen, Holy Angels and Chaska and go into Wednesday night's regular season finale at Shakopee with an opportunity to win the title outright.
The Tiger offense came out clicking against Holy Angels, scoring on six straight possessions over the first three quarters as it built a 38-7 lead. This was a week after it produced a season-low three points and turned the ball over six times in a 28-3 loss at Chanhassen.
"We just executed better. We were more consistent in our blocking, had good protection and took what they gave us," Farmington coach Mark Froehling said. "We just didn't execute last week and we did a better job this week."
The Tigers hung with their running game despite losing all-conference senior running back Athen Ashton to a season-ending ACL injury last week against Chanhassen. Junior Derek Klotter picked up the bulk of the carries and racked up 140 yards on 34 carries while scoring his first two touchdowns of the season. Junior Noah Kary added his first touchdown of the season.
"They've been running all our plays, so they're well-trained and capable of stepping in," Froehling said.
The Tigers established the run on their first drive and moved all the way to the Holy Angels 3-yard line before settling for a 20-yard Reid Taubenheim field goal.
Three plays later, Taubenheim made his mark on defense by grabbing an interception and returning it 24 yards to the Holy Angels 36. Two runs by Klotter and one by quarterback Darren Beenken moved the ball to the 12 and Beenken finished off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run around the right side to make it 10-0.
Holy Angels went 3-and-out on its next drive and the Tigers needed just seven plays to go 55 yards and score another touchdown, this time on a one-yard plunge by Klotter.
The Stars answered with an 80-yard touchdown drive of their own, but the Tigers grabbed any remaining momentum right back when Jordan DeCroock received a hand-off from Beenken, rolled right and tossed a 57-yard bomb to Johnny Dittman for a touchdown. The play call was a risky one considering an incompletion on the 3rd and 11 play would have forced FHS to punt and give the ball back to Holy Angels with over two minutes left in the half.
Instead, the Tigers carried a 24-7 lead into the break.
Another long drive to start the second half resulted in Klotter's second ground score, this time from two yards out. Beenken extended the drive with a pair of key third-down conversions, one a 29-yard pass to Ditttman and one a keeper that moved the ball to the 2-yard line.
Kevin Clifton recovered a fumble to end the Stars' next drive and Kary got to do the honor of capping off the Tigers' sixth straight scoring drive with a one-yard score. The biggest chunk of yardage on the eight-play drive came on a 55-yard pass from Beenken to Bassett on 3rd and 7. Beenken finished 8 of 11 through the air for 128 yards and rushed for 73 more.
Trailing 38-7, the Stars made the final score respectable and padded their yardage total with touchdown drives of 21, 71 and 80 yards. The 21-yard drive came after Beenken's only mistake of the night, a pass down the sideline into double coverage that was intercepted and returned 34 yards.
Farmington slowed down the rally by recovering two onside kicks and getting another field goal from Taubenheim, this time from 42 yards out with 3:26 remaining.
The Stars hurt themselves with some costly penalties throughout the game. Farmington's first scoring drive featured a 15-yard horse collar penalty. Then the Stars had an intentional grounding penalty that put them behind the sticks right before Taubenheim's interception. Their next drive started deep in their own territory because of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Beenken's touchdown run.
Despite missing starters John LeBlond and Jack Erickson due to injuries, the Tiger defense held Holy Angels to seven points over the first three quarters. The Stars entered having scored over 40 points in four of their six games... Johnny Dittman caught four passes for 97 yards and Mac Bassett brought in three for 75... Mason Auge led the defense with 8 1/2 tackles, Taubenheim had 7 1/2 and Clifton had five... The Tigers are in position to earn the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the Section 3AAAAA tournament, which would give them a second-round home game Oct. 27.