On Aug. 22, the Farmington Knights lost the season opener to the Ladue Rams 46-7.
Plagued by missed assignments, mental mistakes and one of the toughest teams on their schedule, the Knights spent most of the evening trying to catch the Rams.
“I think we played hard,” said Erik Kruppe, Farmington’s head coach. “We are not happy with the end result. No one likes to lose, but if we keep working hard and playing positive, then there are brighter days ahead of us.”
Scoring on their first three possessions and monopolizing on a block punt for a safety, the Rams quickly took a 19-0 lead in the first quarter and never let go for the rest of the game.
Keeping cool and remaining focused, junior quarterback Brandt Busenbark took control of the ball on the Knights’ own 45-yard line and marched his team down the field after an impressive 25-yard kickoff return by senior Tyler Finch.
The offensive line held strong as Busenbark set up a quick touchdown as Brayden Bohn plowed through the line to put up the Knights only touchdown for the evening.
“Bohn is a tough, hard-nosed kid,” Kruppe said. “He’s one of my returning stars from last year. He is tough running back who runs extremely hard.”
Although the Knights put on a good show Friday night, penalties seemed to plague the Farmington club.
The Knights’ offense forward movement was hindered several times as mental mistakes led to 72-yards of offensive penalties throughout the evening.
“There are things you can control and there are things you can’t control,” Kruppe said. “You can’t control what your opponent does, but you can control how disciplined you play the game and 12 penalties is way too many. We have to work on getting that number down significantly.”
Although it was a hard loss for the Knights, the varsity football team did have some highlights. Busenbark averaged almost four yards a carry as the QB rushed for 55-yards on only 15 carries, completing 10 passes for 90-yards in the evening.
“This was Busenbark’s first start ever (on varsity),” Kruppe said. “I think he is going to grow and mature as the season goes on. He got his feet wet Friday night and he is going to be a good one.”
Farmington rushing offense demonstrated they do know how to get the job done. The Knights rushed for a total of 125-yards against the Rams with sophomore Gavin Duncan putting up an impressive 36-yards on only seven carries.
“Duncan is still young,” Kruppe said. “But he will be a good player for us on both sides of the ball.”
Although the defense had rough night, Kruppe did see some bright moments in his defenders.
“We’ve got a very good football team in third down situations,” Kruppe said. “The fact that we are getting good teams to third down is a good thing. Now we just have to make sure we get the stops so we can come off the field.”
One stand out defender was middle linebacker Scotty Roberts who led the team with seven solo tackles and four assists and was continuously putting pressure on Ladue’s quarterback for the evening.
“One thing Roberts does well is get our defense aligned properly,” Kruppe said. “What people may not realize is it is the job of the middle linebacker to get the defense set. It is critical. It’s exactly like the quarterback on the offensive side of the ball.”
Another bright spot on defense Friday night was Brendan Ferries. The 6-foot-1-inch, 215-pound defensive end had the duty of squaring off with against the Rams’ 6-foot-6-inch, 345-pound blind side tackle, Justin Moore.
“Ferries has good motor skills,” Kruppe said. “Our defensive ends - he is one of the two - are our defense. I think as they go, so does our defense.”
At the end of the game, Kruppe acknowledges his team’s hard play during the evening and promised them better days to come.
“You got to keep it positive. If there was a lack of effort or they weren’t trying, then that would be a different story,” Kruppe said. “But if these kids are giving the effort and it matters to them, you have to stay positive with them. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s the same with a football program.”
The Knights will travel Friday night to play their rivals, North County Raiders, for local bragging rights.