PEA RIDGE Farmington used quick starts in the first and third quarters to defeat the Blackhawks 35-7 in 4A-1 District action last week.
“We came out flat to start the game and fell behind 14-0,” coach Tony Travis said. “But we stayed in the game until the third quarter. Mistakes just killed us and playing against a really good team like Farmington, mistakes are just things we can’t afford.”
Running the ball against the Farmington line proved tough in the early going as the ’Hawks ended the first quarter at a minus 11 yards. A penalty and a quarterback sack put the ’Hawks in a hole, facing third and 20 from their own 8-yard on their first possession of the game. Ethan Rhine connected with Tyler Ramsey on a passing play that gained 10 yards, not enough to prevent the punt.
In the Cardinals’ first series, ’Hawk defender Devon Pollock nearly intercepted a pass and recorded four tackles to slow Farmington down, but the visitors rushed six times for 59 yards. The last run was a 10-yarder as Farmington jumped out ahead 6-0 with 6:17 left in the first quarter.
The Cards held the ’Hawks again after the kickoff, forcing another Pea Ridge punt with Farmington getting great field position on their own 49. An 18-yard pass gave the Cards a first down on the ’Hawk 33, but Anthony Norris threw the ball carrier for a loss on the first down play. Jase Sharp came up big on the next play when he wrapped up the quarterback on a sack and managed to strip the ball away from the Cardinal signal caller to return possession to Pea Ridge, stopping the Farmington threat.
The ’Hawks couldn’t take advantage of the good fortune as they were again stopped cold, with Easterling punting 35 yards to the Farmington 30-yard line. Two passing plays later and the Cards had a first down on the ’Hawks’ 1- yard line. The plunge into the end zone was successful as was a 2-point conversion play as Farmington forged ahead 14-0 with 11:54 left in the half.
The never-say-die ’Hawks finally found ways to gain yardage and resorted to a bit gambling to mount a threat deep into Cardinal territory.
A 12-yard scramble by Rhine got the ’Hawks close to a first down, as they were three yards short on fourth down on their own 37. Ramsey ran into the teeth of the Card defense but bulled his way forward for 8 yards and new life on the ’Hawk 45. A 7-yard run by Rhine put the ’Hawks into Cardinal territory, and Rhine’s determined run on fourth andtwo netted him four yards as he fought through several defenders for a first down on the Cardinal 43. Three one-yard runs by Norris and Rhine put the ball on the Farmington 37, but two incomplete passes turned the ball over on downs.
At this point, the ’Hawk defenders really turned up the heat as Easterling nailed the Cardinal ball carrier for a 2-yard loss on first down, with Norris knifing through to stop the runner cold on second down. Easterling then danced by blockers to deny a first down, forcing a punt to the Cardinal 42. Rhine then picked up 5 yards to the 37, and nearly threw a touchdown pass on the next play but was stymied when the receiver dropped the ball. After a 3-yard run by Norris got the ’Hawks close atfourth and one on the Cardinal 33, Farmington swarmed through the Pea Ridge blockers to drop the ’Hawks’ ball carrier for an 11-yard loss to extinguish the threat.
The Cards nearly got off a scoring pass on first down were it not for a saving tackle by Andrew Woolard on the ’Hawk 13. Two straight sacks by the ’Hawks and the Cards found themselves in a third and 27 from the ’Hawk 30. A pass very nearly got a Cardinal loose for a score until Pollock made a last ditch tackle to stop the progress after a 7-yard gain.
After going a minus 13 yards rushing in the first quarter, the ’Hawks got their ground attack going by gaining 62 in the second. The Cardinals picked up 49 yards rushing in the first period as they jumped ahead 14-0 but were held to a minus 11 yards in the second. Farmington outgained the ’Hawks 79 to 10 in passing yardage in thefirst half.
A fired up ’Hawk crew held the Cardinals on their first possession, forcing a punt from the ’Hawk 43. A ’Hawk return man tried to field the ball on the Pea Ridge 4-yard line but couldn’thold on, fumbling it before covering it on the ’Hawk 2. On first down, a bad exchange on the snap left the ball rolling into the Pea Ridge end zone, with a Cardinal defender pouncing on it for a touchdown. The mistake left Pea Ridge further in the hole, trailing Farmington 21-0 with 9:22 left in the third quarter.
The ’Hawks were not to be denied on the next possession as they put together a 13-play scoring drive to take the goose egg off the scoreboard. An 18-yard pass from Rhine to Bo Rilee got things rolling to the Farmington 47. A 2-yard run by Norris followed by a 9-yarder by Rhine with an additional 5 yards tacked on after a penalty on the Cards gave the ’Hawks a first down on the Card 33.
Norris, Schneider and Ramsey combined for 11 rushing yards and a first down on the Farmington 22.
After a 5-yard penalty and with the ’Hawks facing third and 15, Rhine threw a perfect pass to Ramsey who was well covered in the end zone.
Ramsey fought off the defender for possession, scoring the ’Hawks’ touchdown with twominutes left in the third period. Rhines’ kick was perfect to reduce the Cards’ lead to 21-7.
Farmington, who had trouble running on the ’Hawks after the first period, was forced to go the air with good result as the Cards scored on a 38-yard passing play on the first play of the fourth period. The successful PAT lifted Farmington back into a three score lead, holding a 28-7 advantage.
A big holding penalty wiped out a Ramsey run and a quarterback sack left Pea Ridge facing fourth and 19, forcing a punt. Farmington returned the ball to the 50 with a 13-yard run and 18- and 25-yard passing plays, all the Cardinals needed to score the game’s final touchdown. The point after was good as the final margin of victory was set at 35-7 for the visitors.
The season will end this Friday with the Berryville Bobcats coming to town for the final district matchup. With both teams eliminated from the playoffs, the two teams will be seeking to come up with a victory to go into the off-season with. The battle kicks off at 7 p.m. at Blackhawk Stadium.
Sports, Pages 7 on 11/04/2009
Print Headline: Cardinals pluck ’Hawks at home