FARMINGTON — The Farmington and Del Norte football teams did not get the finish the two sides were hoping for — or even an actual finish — after their game was ruled a tie tonight at Hutchison Stadium.
The Scorps and Knights went into halftime tied at 20 when a thunderstorm hit the area, causing a long delay that resulted in the officials’ decision to call the game.
During halftime, at 8:17 p.m., lightning began to strike, forcing a halt to the halftime show, and clearing the Farmington band from the field and the fans from the stands.
The rules for lightning delays handed down by the New Mexico Activities Association, which oversees all high school events, state that a minimum 30-minute delay is required if lightning strikes in the area.
Bolts flashed regularly for the next 50 minutes, and after a brief window of hope that the game would resume, a final strike occurred at 9:28 to restart the 30-minute countdown. At that point, the officials had had enough and informed the teams that they would not be taking the field again.
“We were eager to come out and try to get the win. We had some adjustments to make, and we felt like we had a good opportunity to make them,” Farmington coach Jeff Dalton said. “These kids work their butts off for the opportunity to come out and play. It’s tough for both teams any time a game is cut short. Del Norte traveled up here to play, and for it to end in a tie is tough.”
The abbreviated time the two teams shared the field was a back-and-forth battle.
Del Norte received the opening kickoff and put together a long and time-consuming drive for an opening touchdown. The Knights went 77 yards, all on the ground, and ate up 7:36 of clock with Devon Bentacu capping the drive on a 4-yard run for the score.
Farmington answered quickly. After starting on their own 42-yard line, the Scorps were in the end zone in just 2:31 when quarterback Kody Becenti hit Sol Rascon for a 1-yard touchdown.
Rascon said the Scorps were not deterred by the Knights’ long opening drive and used it for motivation for the quick response.
Farmington took the lead in the second quarter on another 58-yard drive, this time only taking 1:47 to find the end zone with Donovan Gonzalez scoring on a 7-yard run.
Del Norte took the ensuing possession in for a touchdown to tie the game at 13 when Bentacu ran the ball in from 3 yards out.
After a Becenti interception, the Knights regained the lead at 20-13 with a Devante Garcia 7-yard run.
But the visitors left 1:26 on the clock before halftime, which was plenty for the Scorps.
Starting at his own 32, Becenti drove the Scorps down the field, converting two third-and-10s along the way. But the play of the drive came when the senior quarterback hit Gonzalez down the right sideline for a 39-yard gain to put the Scorps inside the 10-yard line.
Becenti closed the drive to tie the game with an 8-yard run with 23 seconds left before halftime.
“It’s easy for teenagers to give up when their back is against the wall, but they didn’t do that,” Dalton said of the Scorps. “We fought back, and so did (Del Norte). They’re a tough team with a lot of tenacity. We just wish we could have gotten one more half with them.”
In the first half Del Norte ate up clock with it running game, carrying the ball 30 times for 173 yards and three touchdowns while only attempting five passes.
The Scorps displayed a balanced attack, running the ball nine times for 73 yards and two scores to go with 9 of 17 passing for 108 yards, one TD and one interception.
Farmington will have its first road game of the season next week when the Scorps travel to Belen to face the Eagles (1-0).
“We just have to refocus,” Rascon said. “We know we have to be prepared to beat Belen.”
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.