Scorps square off with Sartans in 5A quarters

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

FARMINGTON — The Farmington football team has been rolling lately, and the Scorpions have advanced to the state quarterfinals for the fourth straight year.

In the quarters, the Scorps will face possibly their toughest opponent of the season, traveling to Albuquerque to take on No. 2 St. Pius X on Friday night at Nusenda Community Stadium.

“They’re good,” Farmington coach Jeff Dalton said. “They’ve got a good corps of receivers, three receivers that we'll really focus on, but the bottom line is keeping tabs on their quarterback, Andrew Ortiz. He’s a good zone pass guy who can pick you apart, and when you have everything covered, you have to look out for him on the run.”

Dalton compared Ortiz to a hybrid of Aztec’s Cody Smith and Miyamura’s Matt Chavez.

Farmington reached the quarterfinals after beating No. 7 Aztec 42-22 last week in Aztec.

As the No. 2 seed, Pius (9-1) received a bye into the quarters. It will be the Sartans first game since beating Belen 35-23 on Oct. 27.

The Scorps (5-5-1) have started well in their last two games, which led to wins over Miyamura and Aztec, and Dalton said a strong start against the Sartans would go a long way toward pulling off the upset.

“How we start is going to be crucial. We’re going to need to score early and get a few stops (on defense) in the first quarter,” he said. “We’ve done well (playing from ahead) and that’s part of the plan, but we’re also prepared for them to start well.”

Dalton said the team’s focus in practice this week has been centered on being mentally prepared for whatever happens in the game.

During the first half of the season, the Scorps struggled with mental lapses, which were a key factor in the team’s 0-4-1 start.

The Scorps and Sartans have built a bit of a rivalry this decade.

Friday’s game will be the fifth meeting in the last six years, and the third of which to come in the playoffs. The last time they played was in the first round of the 2014 playoffs when the Scorps won 41-35 in Albuquerque.

Farmington won all four of those previous games.

Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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