Coyotes slip past Scorps, spoil FHS homecoming

Missed tackles, penalties and turnovers doomed the Scorps early on, forcing Farmington to play from behind nearly the entire game

Karl Schneider

FARMINGTON — The Farmington football team can’t seem to get out of its own way this season.

Roswell's Gabriel Najar avoids a tackle from Farmington's Gabe Medina on Friday night at Hutchison Stadium.

All season, missed tackles, penalties and turnovers have plagued the Scorps, and that was the case in tonight’s 38-28 loss to Roswell at Hutchison Stadium.

Farmington committed four turnovers — two interceptions and two lost fumbles — in the first half that led to two Roswell touchdowns, and saw multiple drives killed by penalties, including a needless block in the back that reversed a Farmington touchdown in the first quarter.

“It’s still the same story. Any level of football you watch, a penalty hurts a drive. Penalties hurt and turnovers hurt, and missing tackles can kill you,” Farmington coach Jeff Dalton said. “We might win that game if we don’t miss two tackles. It’s the small details that we’re working on. We feel like we’re getting better, and when they come together. we feel like we’re about to launch.”

The Scorps started the night as well as they could have hoped for. After a great return on the opening kickoff from Axel Fowler, Farmington started at the Roswell 47-yard line. Six plays later, the Scorps were in the end zone on a 2-yard Fowler run.

Throughout the game, Fowler was a key component of Farmington’s offense, breaking big runs a key times to create a dangerous balance between the running and passing game. Both Dalton and Fowler credited the Scorps’ offensive line with steady improvement from the start of the season, which led to big holes for the junior running back to exploit.

Farmington's Axel Fowler catches a pass against Roswell on Friday at Hutchison Stadium.

“Axel is just a hard worker. He’s committed to running downhill and finding the hole fast, but I think the bigger picture is the improvement with the front five guys who are freeing him up a little bit,” Dalton said. “We have a young line, and I don’t think we had one guy tonight who started week one. We’ve had to shuffle things around, and this group is starting to jel and it’s starting to show in the run game.”

Roswell (5-1) answered immediately, driving 62 yards in 1:39 and taking an 8-6 lead after a successful 2-point conversion attempt.

Roswell extended its lead midway through the first quarter. After a pass bounced off the hands of Farmington’s Fowler, the Coyotes came up with the interception at the Scorpion 46. Roswell was in the end zone a few plays later on a short run, giving the Coyotes a 14-6 lead with 5:01 left in the first quarter.

Roswell added a pair of quick scores on the ground midway through the second quarter to take a 30-6 lead with a little more than four minutes remaining in the second quarter.

After the second lost fumble by Farmington, the Scorps (0-4-1) took possession back when Mason Ross intercepted Kyser on Roswell’s first play. The Scorps took advantage of the takeaway and found the end zone on a 4-yard Kody Becenti run to send the game to halftime with Roswell leading 30-12.

In the second half, Farmington’s defense looked like a different team and implemented the coaching staff’s halftime adjustments seamlessly.

“When you play against a wing-T style that Roswell has, it’s a pen-and-paper matchup. You’re going to make adjustments, and then they’ll come back with the best play. It’s a cat-and-mouse game you’re playing with the other coach,” Dalton said. “Our defensive effort was phenomenal. The kids did a great job with the adjustments and kept fighting.”

The Scorps cut the deficit to 30-20 with 9:10 left in the game. After pinning the Coyotes inside their own 5-yard line, the Scorps forced a quick punt and took over at their own 47. Farmington worked its way down the field and found the end zone when Becenti connected with a leaping Donovan Gonzalez for a 15-yard TD. Gonzalez took in the 2-point conversion on a jet sweep to the right pylon to pull the Scorps within 10 points.

Farmington's Donovan Gonzalez breaks a tackle by Roswell's Brandon Perez on Sept. 30 at Hutchison Stadium.

On the ensuing kickoff, Roswell was called for a block in the back, moving the starting position to the Coyotes’ 15-yard line. But the long field didn’t faze the Coyotes, as they drove down the field and converted on fourth and 7 from Farmington’s 23, finding the end zone on the play. After a successful 2-point conversion, Roswell extended the lead to 38-20.

But the Scorps wouldn’t go away. Becenti hit Tate Weahkee down the left side line for a big gain, getting inside the Roswell 5-yard line. Two plays later, Becenti found Sol Rascon for a 1-yard TD. Another Becenti to Rascon connection on the two-point conversion attempt made it 38-28 with 4:10 remaining.

The Scorps went for an onside kick, but the Coyotes came down with the ball and ran the clock out for the win.

After a loaded nondistrict schedule, the Scorps will begin play in District 1-5A next week, traveling to Gallup to take on the Bengals (2-2).

“I believe we need to practice better as a team and not make the mistakes in practice because it shows on the field,” Fowler said. “We have to play as a team and practice hard. Those are two of the most important things for us.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.