Football: Cold start costs Tigers in home finaleA personal foul on the opening kickoff and an interception on the first play from scrimmage foreshadowed a less-than-festive Senior Night for Farmington Wednesday night. The Tigers allowed 22 points in the first quarter as they capped off a 3-5 regular season with a 30-17 home loss to 1-6 New Prague at a chilly Tiger Stadium.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
A personal foul on the opening kickoff and an interception on the first play from scrimmage foreshadowed a less-than-festive Senior Night for Farmington Wednesday night. The Tigers allowed 22 points in the first quarter as they capped off a 3-5 regular season with a 30-17 home loss to 1-6 New Prague at a chilly Tiger Stadium.
The Trojans used a series of big plays to set up their three early touchdowns. Three plays after the opening interception, fullback Nathon Preston broke two tackles in the backfield on a 3rd and 4 play and rumbled 20 yards for a touchdown. A two-point conversion run made it 8-0.
The Tigers responded with a 72-yard drive that culminated in a 31-yard scoring run by Beenken, but the Trojans grabbed back the momentum with a kickoff return to the Tiger 13-yard line. Three plays later, Dakota Cole plunged across the goal line to make it 14-8.
It was still the first quarter when Preston plowed through the middle of the Farmington defense for a 57-yard touchdown to give the visitors a 22-8 advantage. Preston finished with 169 of the Trojans’ 263 rushing yards.
After being forced to punt on their final two possessions of the first half, the Tigers spent much of the third quarter turning the momentum of the game back in their favor. On the fourth play of the quarter Ryan Schoening recovered a New Prague fumble at the 36, setting up an eight-yard touchdown lob from Beenken to Dillon Jones. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score 22-14 with 9:09 to play in the third.
After forcing a three-and-out, Farmington started with the ball at its own 36. Beenken and Athen Ashton moved the ball into New Prague territory with a pair of 12-yard runs and Johnny Dittman snagged a slant pass on 3rd and 7 to give the Tigers a first down at the 22. Ashton temporarily moved the Tigers within a two-point conversion of a tie with a six-yard touchdown run, but a holding penalty waved off the play and a sack pushed the ball back to the 19. Beenken eventually needed a 15-yard strike to Mac Bassett just to set up a 22-yard field goal by Reid Taubenheim.
The teams then traded punts. Taubenheim gave the Tigers an edge in the field position battle with a 63-yard line drive boot that rolled to the New Prague 21, but the Trojans responded by reaching into their bag of tricks for a rare pass play that sent receiver Luke Tietz over the middle for a 75-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion run made it 30-17 with 9:22 remaining.
The Tigers threatened to get into the end zone on their final two drives, but came up empty. The first ended with four straight incompletions inside the New Prague 40, including one deep ball that landed just out of the reach of Dittman in the end zone, and the second resulted in an interception in the red zone as Beenken was forced to float the ball up in the face of heavy pressure from the Trojan defensive line.
Beenken finished 14 of 25 through the air for 182 yards. He also ran 12 times for 63 yards. He completed four passes to Dittman and three apiece to Bassett and Jones.
Ashton ran the ball 17 times for 40 yards.
Senior linebacker Drew Hegseth once again led the defense with 11 tackles. Schoening added 10 and Kevin Clifton added seven.
The Tigers finished the regular season 3-5, 3-4 in the Missota Conference. They were given the No. 7 seed in the Section 1AAAAA tournament and a matchup against No. 2 Owatonna (7-1, ranked ninth in Class 5A) in the opening round Tuesday night in Owatonna. Results can be found online at www.farmingtonindependent.com.
The teams last squared off when Owatonna beat Farmington 28-14 in the opening round of the 2007 section tournament.