FARMINGTON – The Farmington football team needed a big win after starting its district schedule with back-to-back losses, and the Scorpions delivered Friday night.
On a cold night at Hutchison Stadium, Farmington’s offense exploded to pick up a 67-34 win over Miyamura.
Donovan Gonzalez paced the Scorps, finding the end zone five times in the game. The junior speedster had touchdown receptions of 58 yards, 40 yards and two from 6 yards out to go with a 52-yard touchdown run.
“With him, it’s a matter of confidence,” Farmington head coach Jeff Dalton said of Gonzalez. “He’s dropped a few balls and needs to have that short-term memory. I think he knows when the ball’s in his hands, he has a chance to score, but it’s just getting that first step and good burst to get himself in good positions, and he did that very well tonight.”
After slow starts by the two offenses on their first few possession, things started to pick up midway through the first quarter.
“We just didn’t capitalize on small opportunities,” Dalton said. “We’d move the ball and then kind of fizzle out, usually on a mistake. And that’s kind of been the tale of our season.”
Facing fourth and two at the FHS 33, Miyamura elected to go for it. The Patriots handed the ball to standout running back Alias Starkovich, who broke through the middle of the line and coasted into the end zone.
The Scorps needed just 51 seconds to answer when quarterback Kody Becenti hit wide receiver Diego Elebario in stride for a 69-yard catch and run. After the extra point attempt barely cleared the cross bar, the game was tied at 7-7 with 3:46 left in the first quarter.
Farmington made it 13-7 with a 6-yard touchdown reception by Donovan Gonzalez, but the lead didn’t last long.
On the ensuing kickoff, Starkovich, who was the third Patriot to touch the ball on the play, ran 85 yards for a touchdown. The return began with a Patriot deep back receiving the kick on the left side. He ran a couple of steps to the left and handed the ball off to another Patriot who was running right. That runner, in turn, handed it to Starkovich, who going back to the left. Starkovich broke through an arm tackle and raced down the left sideline for the score to make it 14-13.
But the score shouldn’t have counted. One of the handoffs apparently was illegal, as the Patriot player handed it forward, but that detail went unnoticed by the officials.
Farmington soon was back in the end zone with another long play.
After Elebario picked up a first down on a fake punt, running back Axel Fowler broke a 51-yard run up the right side to put the Scorps back up 20-14.
Fowler's long run sparked a run of 33 straight points from the Scorps to blow the game open with a 46-14 lead.
During the scoring spree, Farmington got three scores from Gonzalez and another touchdown from Fowler.
“When we can move the ball and spread it around to get a team off balance, good things happen,” Dalton said. “We can pound the ball with Axel or get it outside to the speedy guys like Donovan and Diego, and those guys are tough to catch in the open field.”
Gonzalez’s fourth touchdown of the game was nothing short of spectacular. On the play, he split two Patriots, who crashed into each other, broke a tackle, then cut back across the field and raced into the end zone for the 58-yard score to make it 46-14 with 3:25 left in the third quarter.
Farmington added scores from Antonio Weahkee and Ethan Todd to close out the win.
The Scorps will close out the regular season next week, hosting Gallup (3-6, 1-2).
“We’ve got to ride this second half. We have to play like we did in the second half tonight for as long as we’re able to keep playing,” Dalton said. “If we can move the ball like that and get big stops on defense like we did tonight, we can beat anybody. We played complete football, and if we can do that, we feel like we have a lot of football left to play.”
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.