Week 5: A Homecoming heartbreaker
Farmington head coach Mark Froehling envisioned Nate Graham catching a pitch from the holder, breaking around the side of the defensive line and sprinting into the right corner of the end zone for a go-ahead two-point conversion late in Friday's Homecoming game.
Instead, the flip on the fake extra point sailed high, hit off of Graham's hands and fell to the Tiger Stadium turf. The excitement generated by senior Sebren Baer's touchdown moments earlier - with 56 seconds left on the game clock - quickly gave way to a stunned silence as Holy Angels recovered the ball and redeemed it for a 28-27 Missota Conference victory.
"It was supposed to be an end-around from the left wing where Graham runs behind the holder, we flip it to him and he has the run-pass option," Froehling said. "We were going to be aggressive and go for the win. We were set up to do that, we had the edge, but the flip was a little high."
The Tigers led by two touchdowns early in the third quarter, but found themselves facing a 28-21 deficit after Holy Angels completed its third touchdown drive of the second half to take its first lead with 5:06 remaining.
The home team's ensuing drive was a quick three-and-out, but the defense got the stop it needed to get the ball back for the offense at the Holy Angels 46-yard line with 2:07 left.
A first-down pass by sophomore quarterback Darren Beenken moved the ball to the 35, then senior running back CJ Record carried the ball to the 15 with just over a minute left. On second and goal from the six, Beenken rolled to his right and found Baer for the six-yard scoring strike.
After the missed two-point conversion, Holy Angels (2-3) recovered an onside kick and kneeled out the clock on its second win in as many weeks.
"We gave up the lead and the defense came in and got the ball back for us," Froehling said. "It shows the growth of a young football team for us to do that."
The Tigers fell to 1-4 with their third straight loss, but managed to end their streak of eight straight scoreless quarters with a touchdown on their first drive of the game.
A game-opening eight-play drive ended when Beenken found Kevin Olund for a three-yard throw into the back of the end zone on third and goal.
The Stars tied the game on the third play of the second quarter. After picking up a fourth and 1 by the nose of the football, senior quarterback Matt Workman bootlegged a run around the left side and strolled into the end zone from 25 yard out to make it 7-7.
The Tigers answered quickly, however, scoring just over two minutes later when Beenken tossed to Austin Bassett for a three-yard touchdown just inside the right pylon. The big play of the 73-yard drive was 48-yard strike down the middle of the field to Graham, who caught the pass in stride and ran all the way to the seven-yard line.
The Farmington defense shut out the Stars the rest of the half, thanks in large part to senior lineman Eric McWright, who finished with a career-high five sacks and nine tackles.
It didn't take long for the Tigers to get on the board to start the second half. On the first play from scrimmage, Record busted through the right side and pulled away from the defense for a 68-yard rushing touchdown. Record finished with 219 of the team's 226 rushing yards on 31 carries, helping the Tigers out-gain the Stars, 343-226.
Holy Angels needed just 27 yards to score its next touchdown. After a Farmington three-and-out and a short punt out of the end zone, the Stars pounded the ball down to the one-yard line before Workman connected on a touchdown pass to make it 21-14 with 5:19 left in the third.
The Tigers once again went three-and-out on their next possession, and the Stars responded with a game-tying 66-yard play-action touchdown pass from Workman to John Schneider.
The Farmington offense was forced to punt again on its next possession, but the game remained tied thanks to a missed 37-yard field goal by Holy Angels on the last play of the third quarter.
The Stars got the ball back with 8:11 to go and drove 60 yards before Anthony Baysah scored the go-ahead touchdown on a third-and-one play from the three-yard line.
The Tigers play again Friday night when the Tractor Trophy will be on the line in Northfield.