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Farmington wins shootout over Central football team
Three potent offenses reside in Class 4 District 1.
And it didn't take long for Farmington and Central to test the scoreboard at the Tigers' new facility when the flag dropped on the district race.
Central needed two plays and 56 seconds to commence the bulb flashing.
But a multidimensional Farmington offense posted the biggest numbers.
Farmington, which found itself on the outside of last year's three-horse race for the two district spots, handed Central its first loss in its $2.9 million stadium, posting a 49-34 victory.
Central junior Chris Martin opened a 195-yard rushing night with a flair when he dashed 80 yards on the second play, the first of his three rushing touchdowns.
"That was big for us," Central senior quarterback Christian Cavaness said. "He really came to play tonight. To get on them early like that just gave us a lot of confidence."
Unfortunately for the Tigers, Farmington senior Connor Davault also wore a game face. Davault negated Martin's performance with 176 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
The Knights' no-huddle attack posted 456 yards. The surprise in the output by the Knights, who are known for a crisp passing attack, was 47 rushing attempts for 284 yards. Farmington senior quarterback Chase Busenbark added 172 yards passing.
"We just have to take what the defense gives us," Davault said. "If they give us the run, then we just keep pounding the run."
Busenbark came into the game as the region's leading passer with 1,198 yards and a quartet of capable receivers that included Doug Warren, who led the region in receiving yards.
Busenbark was caught off guard when he was told the number of rushing attempts by his team.
"I didn't realize that," Busenbark said about the 47 rushes. "We probably haven't ran it that much this season, but I like running the ball."
Farmington coach Todd Vaughn said his team travels by ground more than people think, noting his squad features about a 50-50 balance.
But even he voiced surprise at running two-thirds of the time.
"That is unusual, but our offensive line did a good job," Vaughn said.
Central, 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the SEMO Northern Division, totaled 372 yards, including 276 yards rushing. But 151 yards of the rushing came on two touchdown runs by Martin, who also had a 71-yard score in the third quarter.
"That's so much speed, and when you don't contain it and keep it inside, it's hard for us to catch him," Vaughn said. "He can run, and he runs hard."
Martin averaged 4 yards on his other 11 carries, which included a 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Four other Tigers averaged 2.8 yards on 29 carries.
"[Martin]'s an explosive back, and that's what we need. And I knew that's what it was going to take," Central coach Nathan Norman said. "They'd stop us, stop us, stop us, and then bam, he'd break free. It's six points. They couldn't catch him."
Central added the 2-point conversion after Martin's first touchdown for an 8-0 lead, then forced a three-and-out on Farmington's first possession.
"We had high hopes when that happened, and we stopped them on the next series," Cavaness said.
But Farmington scored on its next four possessions, with only a fumbled punt return slowing down the Knights during the span.
Farmington needed to convert two fourth-down plays to complete its first scoring drive, then moved ahead 14-8 when Davault pulled in a 5-yard pass from Busenbark.
Central retaliated with Martin's 7-yard run with 9 minutes, 16 seconds left in the second quarter to tie the score 14-14. Martin also had a 42-yard reception during the seven-play drive.
Farmington needed only two plays to move ahead for good. Davault ripped off a 66-yard touchdown run, breaking several tackles in the process. Davault tacked on the extra point as he did on all seven Knights touchdowns for a 21-14 lead.
Central failed to pick up a first down on its next series but pounced on the botched punt catch at the Farmington 22. A personal foul started the Tigers at the 11, and Central scored on Jacob Campbell's 4-yard run to close to 21-20.
Farmington boosted its halftime lead to 28-20 when Warren scored on a 43-yard pass, shedding two Central tacklers upon making the catch at the 12.
Central stopped Farmington twice at the start of the third quarter but misfired on two possessions. The first ended in a fumble and the second ended in a 13-yard punt. Both gave Farmington the ball in Central territory.
"Two poor drives back-to-back killed us," Norman said. "We couldn't overcome that."
Central stopped the Knights the first time, but Farmington turned the short punt into a 37-yard scoring drive. Busenbark found Alec Sebastian near the right front pylon on a 14-yard pass to extend Farmington's lead to 35-20 with 3:49 left in the third quarter.
Martin struck for his 71-yard touchdown run with 1:06 left in the period, but Farmington opened the gap to 49-26 with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Cavaness scored on a 4-yard run with 9 seconds left for the final score.
Farmington improved to 7-1 overall, 3-0 in the conference and gained an inside track to the playoffs.
The Knights also took a 6-1 record into district play last year but lost to both Central and district champion Sikeston.
"It was us unfortunate last year, and we lost to two good football teams," Vaughn said. "And we were able to beat a good football team tonight."
Central has some winning to do if it wants to return to the playoffs.
"We have to beat Sikeston and then we have to beat Perryville," Martin said.
Farmington 14 14 7 14 -- 49
Central 8 12 6 8 -- 34
C -- Chris Martin 80 run (Jacob Campbell pass from Christian Cavaness), 11:04
F -- Chase Busenbark 2 run (Connor Davault kick), 3:38
F -- Davault 5 pass from Busenbark (Davault kick), :16
C -- Martin 7 run (run fails), 9:16
F -- Davault 66 run (Davault kick), 8:24
C -- Jacob Campbell 4 run (run fails), 4:37
F -- Doug Warren 43 pass from Busenbark (Davault kick), 4:06
F -- Alec Sebastian 14 pass from Busenbark (Davault kick), 3:49
C -- Martin 71 run (run fails), 1:06
F -- Davault 1 run (Davault kick), 8:54
F -- Anthony Greco 4 run (Davault kick), 2:01
C -- Cavaness 4 run (Austin Martin pass from Cavaness), :09
First downs (Farmington-Central) 26 13
Rushes-yards 47-283 42-276
Passing yards 172 96
Passes 13-23-0 6-16-0
Punts 3-31.6 5-37.8
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 7-64 5-48
RUSHING -- Farmington, Davault 25-176, Busenbark 18-67, Greco 5-40. Central, Mikey Jones 7-1, Martin 13-195, Campbell 8-31, Cavaness 13-46, Tae Jenkins 1-3
PASSING -- Farmington, Busenbark 13-23-0-172. Central, Cavaness 6-16-0-96
RECEIVING -- Farmington, Evan Dunivan 4-36, Davault 3-28, Doug Warren 1-43, Sebastian 4-55, Kyle Hartrup 1-10. Central, Martin 1-42, Campbell 3-50, Garan Evans 1-8, Tae Jenkins 1-(-4).