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Cardinals Achieve Rare Blowout In Rivalry

BATTLE OF ’62 HIGHLIGHTS NONCONFERENCE SEASON by Mark Humphrey | September 8, 2021 at 5:00 a.m.
MARK HUMPHREY ENTERPRISE-LEADER/Prairie Grove senior Coner Whetsell takes the football 83 yards for a touchdown during the third quarter of Friday's 'Battle of 62.' Whetsell also ran 77 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter but the Tigers lost 56-27 to Farmington.

FARMINGTON -- Farmington's 56-27 rout Friday at Cardinal Stadium showcases their biggest win over a two decade span in the series against rival Prairie Grove. The last time the Cardinals won by 29 plus points came when Bryan Law was head coach in 2000 when he fashioned a 40-6 win over the Tigers.

The 56 point total is the second most scored by either team in the series. The 1973 Cardinals coached by Allen Holland blew out Prairie Grove by a 52-6 final on their way to winning a second consecutive Class B State football championship. The most lopsided game in the rivalry dates back to 1963 when Prairie Grove throttled Farmington, 73-0, at Prairie Grove in an 8-man football game.

Farmington posted three consecutive shutouts from 1987-1989, blanking Prairie Grove 14-0, 28-0 and 33-0.

Farmington has shut out Prairie Grove seven times; Prairie Grove has shut out Farmington eight times.

The first time Farmington met Prairie Grove on the football field occurred in a 6-man football game in 1959. The contest was supposed to be a Farmington home game, but due to issues with lights it was played at Prairie Grove with a twist of irony -- Farmington was designated as the home team. The contest marked the first varsity football game Farmington High School played in its history.

The score was 24-16 with Farmington winning the first game ever played against the team which would become their top rival, Prairie Grove. The rivalry game has been played every year since 1959 except 1964. The schools played 8-man football rivalry games from 1960-1963. The series resumed in 1965 with both schools fielding 11-man football teams and Prairie Grove winning 34-0.

Including Friday's contest, of the 62 rivalry games played, 33 of them have been the first game of the season. Farmington holds an 18-15 lead in rivalry games played as season openers.

Farmington won back-to-back state football championships in 1972 and 1973. Prairie Grove was the only team to defeat Farmington in 1972 the year the Cardinals won their first state championship. The Tigers upended Farmington 13-0, but the Cardinals went 11-1 overall and won the state title.

The next year Farmington routed Prairie Grove 52-6 and the Cardinals finished 12-0 during an undefeated season in 1973 while winning a second consecutive state crown.

Thirty-two years later Prairie Grove advanced to the Class 4A State finals in 2015 including a 61-42 win over current Farmington coach J.R. Eldridge, who was then head coach at Arkadelphia in the semifinals on Dec. 4, 2015. The Tigers lost to Nashville, 39-20, in the Dec. 12, 2015, state championship to finish as State Runner-up.

That year the Cardinals won by a 28-12 score during the regular season with both teams in different classifications. Farmington has been a member of the 5A West since 2014 and Prairie Grove will move up to 5A next year.

Prairie Grove coach Danny Abshier took over the Tiger program in 1993. He lost his first game coaching in the rivalry as Farmington beat the Tigers 8-0. Abshier's record in the series is 17-12. Abshier is a Farmington graduate who played in the rivalry while Farmington defensive coordinator Jay Harper played quarterback at Prairie Grove in the eighties.

Eldridge took over the Cardinal program Feb. 1. He won his first game coaching in the rivalry, 56-27, on Friday.

Print Headline: Cardinals Achieve Rare Blowout In Rivalry

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