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Football: Tigers earn a win at Homecoming

It took nearly three hours, and it got a bit ugly at times, but that didn’t keep Farmington’s fans from getting excited about Friday night’s homecoming triumph.

The Tiger faithful, clad in orange and black, poured onto the field, and some even did a victory lap around the Tiger Stadium track, after the Tigers overcame a sloppy first half of offense to pull away from New Prague, 19-3.

The Tigers improved to 4-0 and stayed tied atop the Missota Conference standings at 3-0 despite committing seven turnovers, including five interceptions that left them trailing the winless Trojans 3-0 until midway through the third quarter.

“Sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to. You have to deal with that adversity and the kids stayed together when things didn’t go their way,” Farmington coach Mark Froehling said. “We didn’t do a good job of finishing off drives in the first half and that kept the game closer than it should have been, but the coaches did a nice job of making some adjustments in the second half.”

That adjustment was to take advantage of their strength up front and start pounding the Trojans on the ground. After a 17-yard slant from Tyler VanWinkle to Jordan DeCroock, the Tigers ran the ball 10 straight times to set up Noah Kary’s two-yard touchdown. Kary started out running to the right, then broke a tackle, reversed field and sprinted into the end zone to make it 6-3.

The Trojans helped move the drive along with a horse collar penalty, a 15-yard facemask penalty and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Three plays after Kary got the Tigers on the board, New Prague’s first turnover put them right back on the doorstep. Godfrey Mpetey got around the edge and hit New Prague’s quarterback as he threw, forcing a fumble that was recovered by John LeBlond at the eight-yard line. Two plays later, VanWinkle rolled right on third and goal and found tight end CJ Wynings for a five-yard touchdown.

The ensuing two-point try failed, leaving the score 12-3.

The Tigers took complete control of the game with a 75-yard scoring drive that started with seven straight running plays. A 34-yard toss to Mac Bassett moved the ball to the two, and senior Nick Ruark rumbled two yards for his first career touchdown to make it 19-3 with nine minutes to go.

“We were getting first downs running, keeping possession and keeping the defense off the field. When you can get that and it’s effective, you stick with it,” Froehling said. “Noah Kary ran the ball well and Nick Buhta came in and did well.”

The defense was overworked early when the Tigers’ first three drives ended with interceptions in the red zone. But the unit never faltered after New Prague’s 20-yard field goal midway through the second quarter and held the Trojans to six punts and two turnovers on downs and forced two turnovers over the final 2 ½ quarters.

The Trojans ended up punting the ball away on 11 of their 17 possessions and went 3-and-out nine times.

The Tigers (4-0) are on the road Friday night at Chaska (4-0) in a matchup between the two teams tied for first place in the Missota Conference. The Hawks blew out Red Wing 67-13 Friday night and are averaging 44.5 points per game.

Games against Chanhassen, Holy Angels and Shakopee follow in the season’s second half.

“They have some great athletes and play good football,” Froehling said. “We’re going to have to play our best to be competitive with all these teams.”

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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