FARMINGTON -- Two Farmington football players were named All-State and eight All-Conference granting the Cardinals a measure of recognition for their competitiveness despite going 2-5 in 5A West play.
Farmington went 4-6 overall, losing 5 of 7 conference games and missing the playoffs for the fifth straight year since being bumped up from 4A. The Cardinals outplayed Alma but couldn't find the end zone in a 35-28 loss, suffered a narrow 28-25 defeat at Vilonia plus put 30 points up against Morrilton in a 52-30 loss.
After a 2-0 start the season took a turn for the worse with a 42-0 loss at 4A Pea Ridge in week three with the Blackhawks having two weeks to stew over their 0-2 start and prepare for Farmington. The unexpected, lop-sided defeat appeared to take away some of the confidence the Cardinals had established and Farmington couldn't seem to get a break.
Morrilton lost All-State quarterback Jacolby Criswell, whom Farmington coach Mike Adams noted had offers from Arkansas, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and others prior to the 2018 season. Meanwhile Farmington suffered a similar fate when sophomore quarterback Tate Sutton, who postured himself to win the starting quarterback job, went out for the season with an injury.
The teams met in week nine at Farmington with Criswell making a triumphant return leading the Devil Dogs to victory on Oct. 26. In week 10 Farmington, already eliminated from the postseason, hosted Harrison in the final game to be played at Allen Holland Field. Scores of alumni and former players along with many former coaches including Allen Holland and Jay Holland returned. Harrison handed the Cardinals a 35-6 loss.
Among the bright spots were Hill, who went both ways at free safety and took over at quarterback. The 5-11, 170-pound senior completed 104 of 206 passes for 1,507 yards with a 50.5 completion percentage. He averaged 150.7 yards passing per contest and compiled a 2-1 touchdown to interception ratio with 18 scoring passes against 9 picks with a long completion of 79 yards. Hill finished with a quarterback rating of 85.6.
On defense Hill racked up 23 solos and 24 assists for 47 total tackles. Hill had a pair of tackles for losses and came away with two interceptions and 61 yards in runbacks.
Coming into the 2018 season Adams noted high expectations surrounded Sturgeon.
"Drew, I feel like, has a chance to be the best receiver in the league," Adams said in August.
Sturgeon didn't disappoint. Adams praised Sturgeon (5-10, 155), who was honored as "Outstanding Wide Receiver in the 5A West." He caught 56 passes for 834 yards averaging 14.9-yards-per-reception with 8 touchdowns.
Sturgeon moved up to varsity for the final game of the season as a freshman in 2016 and became a starter as a sophomore. In the last two seasons, Sturgeon has 98 receptions for 1,447 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Opponents considered him too dangerous to kickoff to and aimed kicks away from him. Sturgeon returned 16 kickoffs for 386 yards for an average runback of 24.1 yards. He returned 6 punts for 31 yards with one fair catch. Sturgeon's total return yardage was 417.
First Team 5A West
Senior defensive tackle Jacob Rogers (5-10, 242) repeated as an All-Conference selection. Rogers recorded 8 solos, 30 assists, two tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery.
Adams described Rogers' effectiveness as an intangible that doesn't show up in the statistics. According to Adams, although Rogers didn't have a whole lot of tackles, he made a lot of plays by absorbing blockers, taking up blocks and freeing up linebackers. Rogers did his job and did it very well.
Colton Kilgore (6-0, 195) came on strong and started the last three games as a sophomore in 2017. Kilgore excelled as a junior linebacker. His statistical line marked 47 solo tackles and 40 assists for 87 total tackles with 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Kilgore forced one fumble.
"He's real solid, 6-feet, 190-pound guy that's real intelligent and does everything right," Adams said.
Senior Chuck Carlson (6-1, 305) anchored the offensive line at center, squatting over 500 pounds and benching about 350 according to Adams, who noted, "So he's a guy you want with strength."
"He's the big guy in the middle. He's got a great base and great strength."
Reid Turner's speed drew the attention of defenses. The 5-10, 185-pound senior tailback carried the football 140 times, the most of any Cardinal. He gained 879 yards for an average of 6.3-yards-per-rush racking up four 100-yard games and 7 running touchdowns. Turner caught two passes for 65 yards and a touchdown with a long catch going for 39 yards. Turner signed as a walk-on with the University of Arkansas on Feb. 21 at Cardinal Arena.
Senior Jacob Freeman (6-0, 210) was effective at outside linebacker. Freeman contributed 17 solos and 26 assists for a tackle total of 43 that included 2 tackles for loss.
Second Team 5A West
Junior Trace South (5-10, 156) was projected at defensive end in August but moved to outside linebacker making 29 solos and 22 assisted tackles for 51 total with 4 tackles for losses. South made 4 sacks for 22 yards in losses. South had one fumble recovery and was credited with causing two fumbles.
Senior Dimariae Donovan's play at strong safety earned him second team All-5A West. Donovan (5-6, 145) made 33 solo stops and was in on 36 assisted tackles with one tackle for loss.
Senior Seth Swain (6-1, 188) competed hard for the starting quarterback position where he was considered a better runner than Hill and saw spot duty on offense. Swain was successful on 17 of 32 passing attempts for 179 yards completing 53 percent of his passes with one touchdown, no interceptions and long of 42 yards. His quarterback rating was 80.1.
Swain became a key defender making 17 solo tackles and 27 assists with one tackle for loss.Sports on 07/10/2019
Print Headline: Cardinals Draw Measure Of Respect In Postseason Honors