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Football: Big plays for Farmington wipe out Wingers

Farmington senior Athen Ashton cuts across the field for a long gain during Friday's 35-14 win over Red Wing. The Tigers are ranked eighth in Class 5A.

Red Wing was just a few yards away from tying the score late in the first half of Friday night's Missota Conference meeting at Tiger Stadium.

Trailing 7-0, the Wingers held onto the ball for over eight minutes and traveled 71 yards on 16 plays before the Tigers stopped them one yard short of a first down at the three-yard line. On the next play, Farmington moved the ball 73 yards the other way on a run around the left side by senior back Athen Ashton.

That sequence of plays ended up being the turning point as the eighth-ranked (Class 5A) Tigers tacked on a pair of touchdowns in the final two minutes of the half to take a commanding 21-0 lead and rolled to 3-0 with a 35-14 victory.

Big plays set up four of the Tigers' five scores. On the first drive of the game, senior quarterback Darren Beenken hooked up with Johnny Dittman for a 47-yard pass over the middle on third down before Ashton plunged across the goal line to make it 7-0.

The Tigers came up empty on their next two drives, but kept the lead thanks to their goal-line stand late in the second quarter. After Ashton's long run and a horse collar penalty moved the ball to the 12, two short runs set up a three-yard rushing touchdown for Beenken and made it 14-0.

Red Wing went three and out on its next possession -- and used up just 22 seconds of clock -- which allowed the Tigers to get the ball back with 1:22 left before the break. A pair of Ashton runs moved the ball into the red zone and Beenken found Dittman on a fade route in the back of the end zone for a 17-yard score that made it 21-0.

Red Wing opened the second half with a 15-play, 85-yard drive to move within 21-7, but the Tigers once again responded with a big play. After an incomplete pass and a short run, Beenken hit Jordan DeCroock in stride down the right sideline for a 69-yard strike that moved the ball inside the one. Beenken finished off the drive with his second rushing score to make it 28-7.

Beenken then hit Mac Bassett for 41 yards to set up his second passing score, a seven-yard toss to Dittman with 9:59 left in the fourth that made it 35-7.

Beenken completed 12 of 16 passes for 217 yards. Dittman hauled in five for 80 yards and Bassett and snagged three for 56.

"Darren (Beenken) did a good job with his vision, rolling out and keeping his eyes down the field. We had some nice blocking that gave him the time to look to the back side and make some big plays," Farmington coach Mark Froehling said. "Our receivers also made some nice catches for those big gainers."

The Tigers also found success on the ground. Ashton topped 100 yards for the second straight game, rushing 12 times for 142 yards, and Derek Klotter and Noah Kary came off the bench to help the Tigers move the chains and chew up the final 5:59 of the fourth. In all, the Tigers carried the ball 31 times for 221 yards, an average of just over seven yards a carry.

"All three of those guys ran tough," Froehling said. "They did a great job making the right cuts and they got the extra yards because of it."

Meanwhile, the Tiger defense held Red Wing to 60 rushing yards on 31 attempts. Mason Auge led the way with 12 1/2 tackles, Nick Ruark had 5 1/2 and Kevin Clifton added five.

The Tigers take a 3-0 record into tomorrow night's game at New Prague. The Trojans picked up their first win 48-37 over Northfield Friday, but their defense has allowed 120 points in three games.