Football: Tigers stay perfectDerek Waldbillig rushed for four touchdowns and the Farmington football team overcame a slow start with 34 unanswered points in a 41-12 rout of Holy Angels Friday night at a roofless Stardome in Richfield.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
Derek Waldbillig rushed for four touchdowns and the Farmington football team overcame a slow start with 34 unanswered points in a 41-12 rout of Holy Angels Friday night at a roofless Stardome in Richfield.
Holy Angels (2-5) took an early lead thanks to a 41-yard touchdown pass on its first possession, then forced Farmington into two turnovers on downs and a punt in its first three possessions. The Tigers turned the game's momentum around after that, stopping a Holy Angels fake punt on fourth and 17 at the three-yard line, then taking the lead on Waldbillig's first touchdown.
Farmington coach Mark Froehling figured the Stars initially intended to punt the ball, but changed their plans when a wideout went uncovered on the left side.
“We didn’t have a guy covered on the outside edge,” Froehling said. “They were going to try to get a big play and throw it to that guy and run for a touchdown, but we recovered just in time and he had to float the ball. It was an incomplete pass and they were in trouble.”
Waldbillig added to the Stars’ troubles later in the quarter with a two-yard touchdown run that capped an 83-yard drive and was set up by quarterback Brent Beenken's 60-yard run on a third-down draw play. The Tiger defense followed that up by forcing Holy Angels into a three-and-out, allowing the offense to score again before the half on a five-yard Waldbillig run that stretched the lead to 20-6 with 47 seconds left.
“I think in the second quarter we started pounding the ball on them after the miscue on their punt,” Froehling said. “We started getting short fields and driving at them. We took a couple of tough inside plays into the end zone and that changed the psyche there. We needed that, but we shouldn’t have had to need that. We need to do a better job of coming out and playing tough football right away.”
The Tigers (7-0) scored again on the second play after intermission when Beenken went 69 yards down the right side to a streaking Josh Zitzmann. Beenken finished just 4 of 11 for 100 yards, with 92 going to Zitzmann on his three receptions. Zitzmann haunted the Stars in all three phases of the game, adding several long kick and punt returns and a 95-yard interception return that was called back on the final play of the first half.
After Zitzmann’s eighth receiving touchdown of the season made it 27-6 with 11:01 remaining in the third quarter, another Holy Angels three-and-out set up a 10-play, 71-yard drive that culminated in Waldbillig’s fourth touchdown, a 20-yard scamper where he cut inside, then sidestepped a pair of defenders on his way to the corner of the end zone. Waldbillig finished with 167 yards on a season-high 32 carries and upped his team-leading touchdown total to 13.
Holy Angels responded with its second scoring drive of the game, an 87-yard trip that resulted in a 43-yard scoring pass that ended Farmington’s 34-point run with 2:38 left in the third. After their opening touchdown drive, the Stars’ final 11 drives resulted in six punts, two interceptions (Zitzmann and Nick Albano) and two turnovers on downs.
Nick Hurtgen led the effort with seven tackles and Danny Tutewohl and Steven Arentz each added four against the pass-oriented Stars offense. Logan Hussung also helped halt a pair of drives with two quarterback sacks.
“(Holy Angels) threw the ball well right away and we weren’t getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They were quick drops and they were getting the ball out and making accurate passes. That’s tough to defend,” Froehling said. “We did a much better job as the game wore on. By the middle of the second quarter we started playing real football, which gave us some opportunities. We were able to continue that in the second half.”
With little doubt remaining on the outcome of the game, the Tigers got their celebration started early in the fourth quarter by getting birthday boy Matt Roiger into the end zone from 15 yards out for his first varsity touchdown.
The Tigers, who have outscored their opponents a combined 250-73 so far this season, will go after their third undefeated regular season and third Missota Conference championship in four years Wednesday night when they travel to Shakopee for a league contest. The Sabers sport a record of 2-5 and are coming off lopsided losses to Holy Angels (21-0) and Hutchinson (34-7).
“It’s a nice position to be in. It doesn’t always happen. The Missota is tough, you play tough football teams every week, so we’re fortunate and blessed to be in this position. I’m happy for the kids and I know they’re happy for each other,” Froehling said. “They want to do a great job representing Farmington High School and the Farmington community.”
The Tigers are all but assured of a No. 1 seed in Section 1AAAAA, which means they would receive a first-round bye and move on to a second-round home game on Oct. 25 against the winner of the No. 4 vs. No. 5 game played next Tuesday.