Farmington football: Tigers win Border Battle
Atop the pre-season list of things the Farmington football team was going to rely on this season were a veteran-laden defense, an accomplished kicker and a receiving core with big-play ability.
All three came up big in Friday night’s season opener in River Falls (Wis.).
The Tiger defense didn’t allow a touchdown over the first 46 minutes, Reid Taubenheim booted a long field goal and five touchbacks and senior wideout Jordan DeCroock accounted for three touchdowns in a 30-20 victory over the Wildcats at Ramer Field.
DeCroock got the scoring started when he hauled in a 77-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler VanWinkle in the first quarter. It was the start of an up-and-down day for the senior in his first varsity start under center. On the next Tiger possession, one of his passes was tipped, intercepted and returned for a 60-yard River Falls touchdown.
The Wildcats missed the ensuing extra point and Taubenheim’s 41-yard field goal made it 10-6 at the halftime break.
Things really started going the Tigers’ way in the third quarter. DeCroock fielded a bouncing opening kickoff and returned it up the middle for an 89-yard touchdown, making the score 16-6. Soon after, John LeBlond recovered a River Falls fumble and VanWinkle found Johnny Dittman in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown strike that pushed the Tiger lead to 23-6.
Another sustained Farmington drive set up an 11-yard scoring pass from VanWinkle to DeCroock and capped a 20-point third quarter.
The two-man backfield of Derek Klotter and Noah Kary helped keep the chains moving throughout the game, Klotter finished with 121 yards on 14 carries and Kary added 82 yards on 13 totes.
VanWinkle finished 7 of 14 through the air for 125 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
“Offensively, we held together well with several new players on the line. I don’t believe we gave up any sacks and we had a pretty good rushing day,” Farmington coach Mark Froehling said. “VanWinkle managed the offense well in his first varsity start and Jordan and the rest of our receivers played a great game.”
Trailing 30-6, River Falls got on the board on another pick six late in the third quarter. The Wildcat offense reached the end zone for the first time on a quarterback sneak in the final two minutes.
“Defensively we made them have long drives. We tackled and ran to the ball well,” Froehling said.
Mason Auge led the defense with 7 ½ tackles. Godfrey Mpetey had seven, Mason Gaylord 6 ½ and Nick Ruark added six.
The Tigers open Missota Conference play tomorrow night when they host rival Northfield. The Tractor Trophy will be hoisted for the final time as next year the Raiders will depart for the Big Nine Conference and the Tigers will join the South Suburban.
“It’s a great rivalry. They are so well-coached, have lots of great players and can do a variety of things offensively,” Froehling said. “We have to be ready for the spread, two backs and option. They do a lot of things that you have to be ready to defend. It’s going to be a tough challenge.”