FARMINGTON -- Thirty seconds over Tokyo changed the lives of Doolittle's Raiders forever and the final 60 seconds of the first half dramatically fueled Farmington's 56-27 rout of Prairie Grove Friday.
Farmington expanded its lead from seven points to a comfortable 37-14 margin at halftime in that time frame. The Cardinals proved very good at addition as they took their chief rivals to school by scoring 23 unanswered points in the second quarter and 30 straight to erase a 14-7 Tiger lead.
The Cardinals went aerial in grand fashion, capping a seven play, 48-yard drive following a Tiger punt with sophomore quarterback Cameron Vanzant finding Devonte Donovan in the end zone for a 20-yard score at the one minute mark.
"I felt like our offense did a great job of scoring points, our defense we created some turnovers and the special teams we made some big plays," said first year Farmington coach J.R. Eldridge.
Prairie Grove didn't cover the ensuing kickoff off the leg of Farmington senior kicker Luis Zavala which died inside the five. Running pell mell, the Cardinal kickoff team pounced on the pigskin and Farmington's offense licked its chops with a first-and-goal at the Tiger four. Senior quarterback Myles Harvey powered the ball in and although Prairie Grove blocked the P.A.T. kick, the Cardinals enjoyed a 34-14 advantage and they weren't done yet.
An incomplete pass prevented Prairie Grove from running out the clock. Eldridge called time-out, forcing the Tigers to punt which Sam Wells fielded at the Cardinal 43 saving valuable field position. Wells immediately took a knee, preserving 15 seconds before halftime.
On the next play Vanzant hit a wide open Justin Logue who outran everybody to the far end zone. The 57-yard touchdown pass was called off because of a block-in-the-back, but Zavala came on to kick a 35-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter sending Cardinal fans into a frenzy.
Second Quarter Whitewash
Statistics bore out Farmington's second quarter dominance. The Cardinals ran off 22 plays to 17 for Prairie Grove. One play the Tigers ran failed on fourth down. Farmington never got in a fourth down in the second quarter. The Cardinals converted all four third downs to keep the chains moving while Prairie Grove went 1-for-4 and punted twice.
Prairie Grove had one big play when Paytin Higgins completed a pass to Coner Whetsell who took the ball 50 yards before he was brought down. That drive fizzled with a turnover on downs. Other than that long pass play Prairie Grove managed a meager 23 yards of offense in the second period including 8 rushes netting 20 yards for an average of 2.5.
"We had some missed opportunities as well, but the biggest thing that our football team did was that when one phase made a mistake we were able to pick up for that mistake with another phase," Eldridge said.
Farmington sizzled, gaining 56 yards on 13 runs for an average of 4.3 in the quarter. Prairie Grove completed just 2-of-6 passes for 53 yards compared to Vanzant's 5-of-6 showing for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Caden Elsik for 30 yards and Devonte Donovan for 20 in the second quarter.
There were no turnovers in the second. Prairie Grove was penalized three times for 25 yards and Farmington got flagged twice for 23 yards. The Cardinals racked up 9 first downs and held Prairie Grove to a pair of first downs.
First Quarter Fireworks
The game began with a sequence of explosive plays. Each team scored a touchdown in the first 19 seconds. Zach Ralston's 20-yard fumble return for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage spotted Farmington a 7-0 lead with a mere seven seconds elapsed off the first quarter clock.
Colin Faulk ripped off 75-yard sprint for a touchdown on the Tigers next series and Prairie Grove tied the score with 11:41 to go in the first quarter. Later in the first, Whetsell broke through the middle untouched and raced 77 yards for a touchdown. Higgins kicked both extra-points and Prairie Grove moved in front with the clock displaying 9:14.
Beyond that the Tigers didn't score again until the third quarter until Ethan Miller took a 61-yard fumble return in for a score on defense leaving Prairie Grove coach Danny Abshier searching for consistency especially from the passing game.
"We look super on one play and the next play we can't get anything right, just back and forth, rhyme or reason, I'm not sure what the reasoning is but we need to focus on doing our job the best we can," Abshier said.
Farmington owned the fourth quarter, scoring 12 points while blanking Prairie Grove. Vanzant danced his way into the end zone from a yard out and Kanye Taylor broke a 43-yard touchdown run.
Abshier will endeavor to get his team working together, noting their potential showed on certain plays while a vast portion of the game didn't look so good from his perspective.
"It can go up. We saw highlights here tonight. It was an embarrassing loss for us. They played better than we did. It was kind of an ugly game so we out-uglied them," Abshier said.
This week Farmington visits Class 7A Springdale while Prairie Grove travels to Pea Ridge. Both kickoffs are set for 7 p.m.
FARMINGTON 56, PRAIRIE GROVE 27
Farmington -- Zach Ralston 20-yard fumble return (Luis Zavala kick), 11:53.
Prairie Grove -- Colin Faulk 75-yard run (Paytin Higgins kick), 11:41.
Prairie Grove -- Coner Whetsell 77-yard run (Paytin Higgins kick), 9:14.
Farmington -- Cameron Vanzant 1-yard run (Luis Zavala kick), 6:06.
Farmington -- Caden Elsik 30-yard pass from Cameron Vanzant (Luis Zavala kick), 4:37.
Farmington -- Devonte Donovan 20-yard pass from Cameron Vanzant (Luis Zavala kick), 1:00.
Farmington -- Myles Harvey 4-yard run (Kick blocked), 0:53.
Farmington -- Luis Zavala 35-yard field goal, 0:00.
Prairie Grove -- Ethan Miller 61 yard fumble return (Kick blocked), 10:05.
Farmington -- Cameron Vanzant 4-yard run (Luis Zavala kick), 3:53.
Prairie Grove -- Coner Whetsell 83-yard touchdown run (Paytin Higgins kick), 3:01.
Farmington --Cameron Vanzant 1-yard run (Kick blocked), 5:32.
Farmington -- Kanye Taylor 43-yard touchdown run (Kick failed), 1:40.
RUSHING -- Farmington, Caden Elsik 26-133, Myles Harvey 10-50, Kanye Taylor 5-49, Cameron Vanzant 6-25, Lawson De Vault 1-8, Justin Logue 1-(-2). Totals 49-263. Prairie Grove, Coner Whetsell 7-167, Colin Faulk 8-100, Ethan Miller 7-21, Paytin Higgins 5-16, Camden Patterson 1-3, Conner Hubbs 1 (-3). Totals 29-304.
PASSING -- Farmington, Cameron Vanzant 16-22-197-3-1. Prairie Grove, Paytin Higgins 3-9-62-0-0, Camden Patterson 0-3-0-0-0. Totals 3-12-62-0-0.
RECEIVING -- Farmington, Justin Logue 6-95, Lawson DeVault 4-36, Peyton Funk 3-13, Caden Elsik 1-29, Devonte Donovan 1-19, Tate Pickens 1-5. Totals 16-197. Prairie Grove, Coner Whetsell 1-50, Matthew Velasco 2-12. Totals 3-62.