FARMINGTON – The Farmington football team could do no wrong Friday night.
The Scorpion offense and defense dominated seemingly every play and pulverized Gallup 56-6 in the regular-season finale at Hutchison Stadium.
“It was the cleanest start we’ve had, and it was really what we’ve needed,” Farmington head coach Jeff Dalton said. “We’ve been on the brink and just missing some close opportunities throughout the season, but tonight, it seemed like we came out with a different focus. We’ve seen glimpses of it, but tonight was really the first time we maintained it for a complete game.”
With Farmington’s first scoring play, it was clear things would go in the hosts' favor.
On that play, quarterback Kody Becenti hit wide receiver Diego Elebario on a screen on the right side. The Bengals (3-7, 1-3) broke through Elebario’s blockers, but the senior receiver made a hesitation move that resulted in three Bengals crashing into each other, leaving Elebario an open path to the end zone.
Farmington (7-3, 2-2) didn’t have much trouble with the Gallup defense the rest of the way.
Becenti and Elebario connected on another touchdown, this time from 20 yards out. Then, after a Mason Ross interception, Becenti found Donovan Gonzalez from 25 yards out to make it 21-0 with 5:27 left in the opening quarter.
Before the first quarter ended, Becenti found Elebario for a 47-yard touchdown to give the Scorps a 27-0 lead.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” senior lineman Chris Romero said. “We got our offense going early, and we got yards. No one can stop us. I don’t think anyone in the state can stop us when our offense is going.”
In the second quarter, Becenti had touchdown tosses to Cruz Dubick and Jeb Pinkley from 19 and 21 yards out, respectively.
Things only got worse for the Bengals when a snap that sailed over the Gallup punter’s head was recovered by the Scorps at the Gallup 7-yard line. Running back Axel Fowler scored from 3 yards out two plays later.
As good as the Farmington offense was, its defense was equally impressive.
The Bengals picked up a handful of first downs during the game, and their lone score came on their opening drive of the third quarter when the game was already out of reach.
“A lot of credit goes to our scout team for getting our defense prepared,” Dalton said. “They’re a lot of young guys who don’t get a lot of playing time and don’t get recognition, but they work their butts off in practice waiting for an opportunity, and they really came through this week.”
After the Gallup score, Farmington was back in the end zone after a 49-yard run from Gonzalez.
The score put the Scorps up 54-6, meaning they needed a two-point conversion to end the game via the mercy rule.
After calling a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty, Farmington converted the two-point try with a bit of misdirection, running an end around with Romero taking the handoff and crossing the goal line untouched.
“It’s actually a play we ran when I was in high school, and I got to run it in, so we wanted to give a senior lineman an opportunity to score some points.”
Romero said he had been trying to convince the coaching staff to give him a chance to run the ball, and the feeling was better than he imagined it would be.
The play is called Elvis. Romero said it was named for him and his resemblance to the rock 'n' roll legend.
“I’ve been trying to talk my coaches into running a fumblerooski all this time to get me some points,” Romero said. “They handed me the ball, and I was able to run it in for the two-point conversion to end the game. It’s the best win ever.”
Now the Scorps wait to learn their fate in the 5A playoff picture.
Currently ranked sixth in the state, the Scorps appear to have secured a spot in the 12-team bracket, but it will be up to the selection committee to deem Farmington worthy.
“We’re preparing and moving forward. We feel like we’re a legitimate playoff team and a legitimate contender. We’re here for the long hall, and we plan on playing until December,” Dalton said. “It’s kind of up to four guys sitting in a room. The committee doesn’t get to see a lot of football up here, but hopefully they understand we’re in a really tough district, and even if we’re third in the district, we deserve a shot.”
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.