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Football: Defense shines as No. 7 Tigers move to 4-0

The seventh-ranked (Class 5A) Farmington football team has already found a few different ways to win during the first half of the 2012 season.

In Week 1, it was the leg of kicker Reid Taubenheim and a solid defense that sealed a victory over Rochester Mayo. The next two weeks the offense hit its stride and the defense needed just a few crucial stops to salt away conference wins over Northfield and Red Wing.

Last Friday the Tiger offense was held in check and the defense once again stepped up against a run-heavy New Prague team, forcing two late fumbles and a turnover on downs in the final minutes to put away a 14-7 road victory over the Trojans on their Homecoming.

With the victory, the Tigers improved to 4-0 overall and remained tied with Holy Angels atop the Missota Conference with a 3-0 mark heading into tomorrow night's Homecoming game against Chaska (3-1) at Tiger Stadium. The Hawks lost to Chanhassen in Week 2, but have since beaten Shakopee and Red Wing.

After a scoreless first quarter last Friday, the Tigers took the lead early in the second on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Darren Beenken to Mac Bassett. The score stayed 7-0 until running back Athen Ashton found the end zone from five yards out on the opening drive of the third quarter. Ashton carried the ball 25 times for 125 yards for his fourth straight 100-yard effort.

New Prague ran the ball 41 times for 204 yards, 145 of which came from fullback Nathan Preston, who got the Trojans on the board with a three-yard plow early in the fourth.

The Trojans got the ball back three times in the final 11 minutes, but couldn't produce a game-tying score. Godfrey Mpetey and Tom Sell recovered fumbles to end two of the possessions and a Denver Robinson sack on first down set up a turnover on downs in the final minutes.

Mason Auge led the defense with seven tackles. Mason Gaylord had six, Alex Chadwick 5 1/2 and Mpetey five.

Beenken finished 6 of 13 passing for 143 yards. He found Ashton out of the backfield twice for 60 yards and Jordan DeCroock two times for 50 yards.