Tiger football loses last game of the season to Lakeville South 59-21
Wednesday night's football game in Farmington against Lakeville South quickly got out of hand for the Tigers. Farmington looked to notch one more win before the post-season started but instead gave up 45 first-half points to the Cougars and lost 59-21. The Tigers finished the regular season with a record of 1-7 and will head into the Class AAAAAA tournament with the No. 7 seed, which means they will travel to No. 2-seeded Edina to take on the Hornets next Friday, Oct. 26.
A rough end to the regular season
Lakeville South presented a unique challenge for Farmington as the two teams are about as different as possible. The Tigers rely on a fast defense and a spread, quick hitting offense but lack size. The Cougars utilize the "T" formation with the quarterback under center and three players in the backfield, forming a "T" and two tight ends on the line with no wide receivers. All their plays come from this formation and its meant for power running and play-action passing to the tight ends and running backs. This takes advantage of their overall team size.
Farmington started the game with the ball, but were forced to punt and Lakeville South proceeded to drive down and score from 10 yards out to lead 7-0 with 7 minutes, 19 seconds left in the first quarter. The Tigers then fumbled deep in their own territory on the next possession and Lakeville South recovered at the Farmington 15 yard line. They scored on the very next play to go up 14-0 less than 50 seconds after their previous score. The Tigers continued their disastrous start as they turned the ball over on downs at their own 25 after what was either a botched or fake punt. South then hit on a 20-yard pass for a touchdown to lead 21-0 with still 4:32 left in the first quarter.
Farmington was able to get on the board at the end of the first quarter after driving on the back of sophomore running back Zac Janz. Sophomore quarterback Alex Berreth hit sophomore wide receiver Isaac Ask for an eight-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7 with 1:08 left in the first quarter. However, Lakeville South scored just a few minutes into the second quarter to make it 28-7. The Tigers then turned the ball over on downs again in their own territory, this time at their own 35, and the Cougars scored again to lead 35-7 with 7:39 left in the first half. Senior Justin Gutsalyuk then gave Farmington a boost when he returned the following kickoff to the Lakeville South 17 and Janz scored from six yards out to cut the Cougars' lead to 35-14 with 6:41 left in the second quarter. South kicked a 31-yard field goal and scored again with about 30 seconds left to make it 45-14 Cougars at halftime.
The second half was much slower as reserves played for both teams. Lakeville South scored on the first possession of the half to go up 52-14. Farmington responded with their best drive of the game and Janz scored his second touchdown of the night to make it 52-21. The Cougars scored once more in the fourth quarter to lead 59-21, which was the final.
A bright spot for the Tigers
Despite Farmington's record this season and some rather lopsided losses, one bright spot has been the play of Janz at running back. While not a big runner by any means, Janz is tough to bring down for his size and shows really good vision following his blockers or picking the right hole. Running out of the shotgun means plenty of counters and traps for Janz and not as much straight-ahead blocking, requiring him to pick his way through the offensive line.
Janz missed all of last season with a back injury but said it's just felt good to be able to play a full season.
"It feels really good to be able to come back and start," he said. "I've gotten more touches as the games go on, we're just trying to get a more consistent run game going."
In terms of what he views his own strengths as, he said that he's at his best when he can make one cut and go.
"We do a lot of up-the-middle stuff where I'll be following a lineman," Janz said. "That seems to work pretty well, because then I can just follow behind him and then make a cut. I would say that, we haven't done a whole lot of sweeps, so yeah mostly just up the middle."
"I've played running back my whole life, ever since I started football," he said about how he has developed his vision as a ball carrier. "I guess maybe that's just with experience, or I might just have it. I feel like sometimes it's hard to work on stuff like that, because it's more like a game-situation thing."
Janz pulled in a couple screen passes against Lakeville South, which is a new wrinkle for the sophomore who usually has just carried the ball.
"I do like it, I don't have the best hands on the team and everybody knows that," he said. "Throughout the season we haven't passed it to me a ton, but the screen passes are pretty easy to catch so we've just been adding those in, they seem to work pretty good."
As Janz continues to develop and grow stronger he will be a very valuable tool for the Tigers the next two years.
Farmington received the No. 7 seed in their sub-district and will play at No. 2 Edina next Friday. They are in the bottom right of the Class AAAAAA tournament bracket, along with No. 1 Lakeville North, No. 3 St. Michael-Albertville, No. 4 Maple Grove, No. 5 White Bear Lake, No. 6 Roseville and No. 8 Hopkins. Should they win against Edina they would then play the winner of St. Michael-Albertville and Roseville on the road Nov. 2.