FARMINGTON — A strong core of 14 seniors plan to lead the Farmington High Scorpions to another state tournament appearance in 2013.

The Scorpions will crank up their potent defense and formidable rushing attack again this season as head coach Gary Bradley aims to improve on a 7-5 campaign in 2012 in which the Scorps went 2-1 and finished third in District 1-4A via a tiebreaker with Aztec and Piedra Vista. A season ago, Farmington fell in the first round of the state tournament 45-20 on the road at Moriarty.

"Our maturity level is up there. All of the seniors played a lot of varsity football last year, whether they started or not," Bradley said. "We haven't had to push the guys or threaten them or reward them just to be there and to work hard.
Farmington High School’s Austin Foutz (6) moves around a Los Lunas player during a scrimmage game Aug. 16 at Hutchison Stadium at Farmington High
Farmington High School's Austin Foutz (6) moves around a Los Lunas player during a scrimmage game Aug. 16 at Hutchison Stadium at Farmington High School. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)
They have done it on their own. When you have leaders like that, the young ones tend to follow them. That is what we are most pleased with going into the early season."

Farmington returns a lot of talent on defense, losing just two starting linebackers from a season ago.

"We replaced everybody and moved around the cornerbacks some. I think we will have a very strong D because we have a lot of experience," said senior wide receiver and ball hawking defensive back Kyle Reynolds. "Last year, we did really good getting a lot of turnovers and setting up our offense with good field position. I think we can force even more turnovers this year."

A solid offensive line that features depth has Bradley excited about this year's rushing attack, which will be led by senior running backs Brian Farley and Austin Foutz and senior quarterback Jacob Lucas.

"Brian Farley has great speed and hits the hole hard. Foutz has fantastic vision and is very quick," Lucas said of his top two backs. "We also have a lot of running backs who didn't play a whole lot last year, like Tyler Blades and Chayton Salcido."

With Reynolds as a valuable threat at wide receiver, Farmington has the tools to open up the passing game more in Lucas' senior season.

"Jacob and I have been throwing a lot and practicing quite a bit," Reynolds said. "I think it is going to be a really good year for us being a duel-threat offense because (Lucas) can run a lot, but, with his experience and our experience on the offensive line, I think we can start passing."

Bradley said the team will go as far as the offensive line takes them.

"That is not pressure on them, but reality," he said. "They know it and appreciate it and embrace it. That is why I love linemen.
Farmington High School quarterback Jacob Lucas throws the ball to an open receiver during a scrimmage game against Los Lunas Aug. 16 at Hutchison Stadium
Farmington High School quarterback Jacob Lucas throws the ball to an open receiver during a scrimmage game against Los Lunas Aug. 16 at Hutchison Stadium at Farmington High School. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)
We haven't had the depth there like we do this year in my time here, and all of those guys want that running play to be called behind them on 4th-and-1 or 2nd-and-goal."

Bradley said the biggest key to the early season is determining whether some kids have to play on both sides of the ball or whether he has enough depth in all positions to allow kids to rest more.

"We are looking at what is most important. Sure, we have returning starters who went two ways, but do we want them to play both every game, or do we have guys there that we can fit in there that are just as good going just one way? We are trying to fit all the puzzle pieces together," Bradley said.

Farmington High opens with two road games at Gallup and at Los Alamos before returning home to face Miyamura and Durango. After a middle-of-the-season road game at Valencia, a home game against St. Pius X will test the Scorpions before games against San Juan County competition.

"We are taking it all one day at a time. We can't look at the district schedule yet or state. We are all doing a good job going one day, one game, one practice at a time," Reynolds said.