Although mistakes were made and points were lost, the Farmington Knights varsity football team ran over their arch enemy, the North County Raiders, 34-6 during Aug. 28 season opener.
“It wasn’t pretty all the time. We left points on the board and there are things we have to make sure we clean up.” said Farmington Head Coach Erik Kruppe. “But we had a task at hand. It was our home opener against our arch rival, but ultimately we got the job done.”
With turnovers, drive killing penalties and points being taken off the board, the Knights had a hard time getting any offense going during the first quarter.
“We were a little sloppy at times,” Kruppe said. “We had several penalties that could have been avoidable and we also turned the ball over. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot.”
Once the Knights found their stride in the second quarter, it was off to the races as they put up three touchdowns before the end of the quarter.
Striking first for the gridiron Knights was quarterback Brandt Busenbark who put six points on the board with a keeper from 15 yards out. Brayden Krause nailed the extra point putting Farmington in the lead 7-0.
Just four minutes later, the Knights capped of a 59-yard offensive drive when junior running back Tappan Westbrook picked up the six points when drove through the Raiders defense from six yards out. For the second time in the evening, Krause split the upright to make it 14 – 0.
“We started to right the ship in the second quarter and smoothing some things out,” Kruppe said. “Our players have done a great job taking to the offensive scheme."
With only 3:10 left in the half, Busenbark took control of his offense at their own 27-yard line and marched his team down field. After two long passes, one to senior Logan Dotson and the second to Krause, the Knights were ready to strike with a first and ten at the Raiders six-yard line.
With only seconds left, the Raiders stopped the Knights on the first three attempts to break the goal line. With six points only one yard away, Kruppe took the chance on fourth down and signaled his offense to fight for those points.
Kruppe’s instincts paid off as his offense made a hole allowing Busenbark to push in for another six points. For the third time that evening, Krause nails the extra point allowing the Knights to go into the locker room leading North County 21-0.
“We felt our offensive line could get us that yard,” Kruppe said. “We put in on their shoulders and told them, ‘Boys you got to get it for us,’ and they did.”
The second half started off with both teams once again struggling to find their offense. In their first possession, Farmington lost the ball to the Raiders on a fumble from the line of scrimmage - the third of four turnovers for the evening.
“We have to make sure we are covering the football the proper way, tucking it away and keeping the point up,” Kruppe said. “We cannot emphasize that enough, and we cannot afford to get sloppy with the football.”
The Knights defense was playing a stalwart game keeping the Raiders offense from putting any points on the board and forcing them to give up field advantage.
Late in the third quarter senior defensive end William Siebert blocked a Raider punt at the 15-yard line setting up junior defensive back Alex Greco with a chance to recover the ball and run it in for a touchdown, putting his team up 28–0.
The Raiders only points came with 2:10 left in the third quarter when senior Dakota Burns recovered a stripped ball from and ran it back for the his team’s only points on the evening. Failing to make the conversion, the Raiders would have to settle for six points.
The Knights would strike one more time half way in the fourth quarter when junior running back Gavin Duncan ran the ball in for another touchdown, putting the Knights up 34-6.
The Knights finish the game beating the Raiders 34-6 and leaving them 2-0 for the season as they start conference play on Friday night at home against the Poplar Bluff Mules. Game time is 7 p.m.