FARMINGTON — A group of experienced, hard-nosed players have been dominant this season for the Farmington Scorpions.
Farmington High's rushing attack and stout defense have the Scorpions sitting at No. 3 in the MaxPreps 4A rankings with an overall record of 7-1 this season. Quarterback Jacob Lucas and running backs Brian Farley and Austin Foutz have led a Scorpions offense that is averaging nearly 250 rushing yards per game this season, which is nearly 70 yards better than the national average.
But the FHS players and coaches say it is the work of the team's lineman that has propelled them through the season.
"It is their attitude. They have the physical conditioning, but what is in their heads is more important," said FHS head coach Gary Bradley. "They have that lineman attitude where they can't wait to start wearing down the other team. You see it in the opponent's eyes when our guys start getting to them."
Senior Logan Welling has started one game at every position on the offensive line already this season. It is something he has been doing since he was a sophomore and started earning starts in place of injured upperclassmen. Welling called this year's offensive line the most physical he has seen in his three years of varsity football.
"Our gameplan is to shove it down the other team's throats and kick their butts. We want to drive them back until they eventually give up," the 6-foot-2, 270-pound senior said. "The second half of games, we have taken off because everyone is tired from having their butts kicked."
Farmington returned every lineman from the 2012 season. Bradley said that experience has paid dividends because the guys have the skills to step into any position needed when injuries arise.
"Our main thing is trying to contribute to the team any way we can," said senior tackle Keenen Francis. "Coach always tells us if our running backs and our quarterback are popular, then we are doing our job. It is one of the best feelings in football when you can step in and help one of those guys break a big run."
Many of the FHS lineman also play on the defensive line that has frustrated opponent's this year. They are part of a Scorps defense that is allowing just 7.5 points per game this season.
"Sometimes I get a little tired, but I know I have people depending on me so I suck it up and go full speed," Welling said. "We practice hard, so we get used to it after awhile."
Welling and guard Adrian Brown are the two biggest FHS lineman at 270 pounds. Junior guard Patrick Goff has stepped in and been productive at just 185 pounds, and center Cesar Haro-Torres has gone from wide receiver his freshman year to center every year since.
"Since I am not a typical sized lineman, I have to try a little harder. The guy I am blocking is typically bigger, and I have to work harder to move him and get my job done," Goff said.
Haro-Torres, who is also a talented wrestler, said he uses some of his wrestling skills to help him take down bigger guys on the football field.
"Wrestling helps me a lot with being aggressive and getting down low. Football also helps me in wrestling. It is all about attitude," the 205-pound center said. "When you are a lineman, you have to be the toughest guy on the field."
Farmington also utilizes more two tight-end formations than any other team in District 1-4A. The tight ends, Deangelo Phillips and Austin Moore, are used more as extra blockers than pass catchers, and Bradley has used them all over the offensive line to fill in when other players are injured.
"It has been tough because we have had some tight ends who could be really good, but injuries and things like that have made us move those guys," Bradley said.
A week ago in Aztec, the Farmington offense was stopped from the one-yard line right before time expired in the first half. They led Aztec 3-0 at halftime, but not being able to extend the lead to 10-0 angered the Scorpion offensive lineman. They sent a statement in the second half as the Scorpions ran the ball up and down the field en route to a 37-0 victory.
"We were mad. To get stopped on the one-yard line stung us as an offensive line," Welling said. "We came out in the second half, fixed our mistakes and took control of the situation."
Though being a lineman isn't a glamorous job, the Scorps' big guys said seeing one of their teammates score a touchdown is reward enough. That, and the battle scars they pick up each game.
"I always show them off and brag about them," Welling said. "It is pretty cool."John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.