Football: No-huddle takes Chan by StormThe Tigers overcame an 11-point deficit to end their nine-game losing skid, 17-14
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
A switch to a no-huddle offense sparked two second-half touchdown drives and the Farmington defense held Chanhassen scoreless over the final 24 minutes of a 17-14 victory Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers trailed 14-3 at halftime, with their only points coming courtesy of a 32-yard field goal by Reid Taubenheim. The team’s other four first-half drives ended via a fumble, an interception at the goal line and two punts after failed conversions on third and short.
“We stopped ourselves a couple of times,” said Farmington head coach Mark Froehling, whose squad ended a nine-game losing streak. “We were confident coming out for the second half that we could move the ball, we just needed to cut down on a few errors.”
The Tigers did just that. After Chanhassen blew a chance to go up 21-3 with a fumble inside the 10-yard line, quarterback Darren Beenken guided the home team on a 13-play, 92-yard drive that resulted in a 1-yard touchdown plunge by senior tailback Athen Ashton to make it 14-10. Beenken picked apart the Chanhassen defense in the fast-paced no-huddle offense, completing all five of his passes on the drive for 52 yards.
“We’ve been successful with the no-huddle in the first couple games. Our pacing is good and the kids have developed signals and calls that allow them to run everything we have,” Froehling said. “It gives us the ability to move people around and set the pace of the game.”
After another defensive stop, the Tigers got the ball back at their own 37-yard line with 2:52 left in the third. Dillon Jones, Nathan Graham and Ashton all converted key third downs on the ensuing drive, and Austin Bassett went up high to make a one-handed catch, helping the Tigers move into the Chanhassen red zone. After a completion, a dropped pass and a Beenken scramble took the ball to the nine, Beenken found Jones in the back corner of the end zone for a nine-yard score on fourth and three to give the Tigers a 17-14 lead.
Chanhassen was forced to punt on its next two drives. The Storm then made a defensive stop and looked poised to get the ball back in good field position with under four minutes remaining, but Farmington punter Kevin Olund scooped up a one-hop snap and booted it 61-yards for a touchback to send the visitors back to the 20.
Four plays later, Andrew Peterson sealed the game with an interception.
“We’ve struggled to play well for four quarters. We either didn’t start the game right or we didn’t finish right,” Froehling said. “We wanted to play four quarters and that’s what we did.”
The Storm (0-3) got on the board first on a seven-yard touchdown run by Maverick Edmunds with 8:43 left in the second quarter. The run capped a nine-play, 58-yard drive. Edmunds scored another touchdown from three yards out with 1:32 left in the half. After that, the visitors managed three punts, a fumble, an interception and a turnover on downs in their final six drives.
“The defense really ran to the ball and tackled well. They played tough,” Froehling said. “The coaches had a good game plan for them and they worked hard and made good things happen.”
Drew Hegseth, Ryan Schoening and Mason Auge paced the defense with six tackles apiece, helping hold Chanhassen to 263 total yards.
The Tigers racked up 350 yards, including 206 through the air, as Beenken completed 23 of 38 passes to five different receivers. Bassett hauled in a team-high seven passes for 68 yards and Graham and Jones each caught six. Johnny Dittman added three catches.
Ashton finished with 28 carries for 97 yards, his second straight game with at least 90 yards rushing. Froehling gave credit to an improving offensive line for its effort both in the running and passing games.
“The offensive line did a nice job of pass blocking in the second half,” Froehling said. “They attacked much better and did a great job executing their blocks.”
The Tigers (1-2) are back in action tomorrow night when they host defending Missota Conference champion Shakopee at Tiger Stadium. The Sabers (3-0) are coming off a 49-22 win over Chaska last week.