Before their first game, Farmington’s players and coaches said their team’s biggest strength would be the defense’s ability to get key stops.
It wasn’t before long before the Tigers would have to prove it, and they came through. Two fourth-quarter interceptions were instrumental to Farmington’s 22-20 victory at Woodbury on Friday. The Tigers won their season opener for the first time since 2013.
With Farmington holding a 15-13 lead early in the fourth quarter, junior defensive back Adam Weed intercepted a pass and returned it to the Woodbury 32-yard line. Then he huddled with the Tigers’ offense and on the next play caught a touchdown pass from Alijah Moe.
“When I got that interception, what’s going through my head is, ‘All right, I’m not tired. I need to do this. We need to get this.’ And we got it, fortunately,” Weed said.
Nick Savisik, another junior defensive back, picked off a pass at the Farmington 24 in the final minute to end Woodbury’s final threat.
“Our defense is rock solid and I think it’s only going to get better and better as we go,” Tigers coach Adam Fischer said. “We knew if we could score three touchdowns we’d probably have a pretty good chance. We were pretty conservative at the end, trying to keep that clock running. We wanted to give our defense a chance to win the game.”
The Farmington defense also made a big play in the first half, dropping Woodbury quarterback Ryan Christensen in the end zone for a safety. Shortly after getting the free kick, Moe scored on a 28-yard run and the Tigers took a 15-7 lead into halftime.
The Tigers’ other score came in the first quarter on a 10-yard pass from Moe to Mogensen.
“We can play even smarter on defense,” said Mogensen, who also plays linebacker. “The offense did great. Our new quarterback did great.
“Woodbury? Great team, great athletes. Winning this game shows we can play with everybody.”
Farmington plays at Shakopee on Friday, Sept. 8, and the victory over Woodbury can only boost the Tigers’ confidence. When Farmington joined the South Suburban Conference in 2014 and moved into the state’s largest enrollment class for football, Weed said the Tigers sometimes questioned whether they belonged. They don’t question it anymore.
“Now it’s just a matter of having confidence in ourselves,” Weed said. “If we have confidence in ourselves, we can do great things.”
Other local teams in the Metro South subdistrict played their season openers Thursday:
Lakeville North 62, Burnsville 0
The Panthers rushed for 355 yards and returned two interceptions for touchdowns as they prepared for their Class 6A heavyweight matchup at Eden Prairie next week. Brian Curtis rushed for 120 yards and scored three touchdowns. Braden Walsh returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter and Brendan Rehborg scored on a 46-yard interception return in the third.
Burnsville plays host to Eastview next week.
Apple Valley 27, Hopkins 7
Apple Valley scored on its first two possessions and never looked back against the error-prone Royals, who committed four turnovers in the first half.
Tyler Cardella threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Macho and Kellan McKeag scored on a 51-yard run as the Eagles jumped in front. Apple Valley is on the road at St. Thomas Academy next week.
Wayzata 28, Rosemount 27
Rosemount’s Jonathan Mann caught two long touchdown passes, but the Irish were not able to hold on to a 13-point second-half lead.
Mann caught an 80-yard touchdown pass from Max Carter in the final minute of the second quarter and a 77-yard pass for a score early in the third. He had three catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Garrison Green (6 yards) and Carter (1 yard) scored rushing touchdowns in the first half.
Wayzata took the lead for good on Deshawn Cockrell’s 32-yard run in the fourth quarter.
The Irish play Edina in their home opener at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8.
Edina 34, Lakeville South 9
Matt Cavanagh rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns for Edina, which led 27-3 at halftime.
Jeremiah Jacobson led Lakeville South in rushing with 97 yards on 11 carries. He scored on an 11-yard run in the third quarter. John Olson kicked a 22-yard field goal for the Cougars, who play at Eagan next Friday.
Minnetonka 42, Eagan 7
The Wildcats were even with Minnetonka after one quarter before the Skippers took over. Minnetonka scored four rushing touchdowns, one on an interception and one on a kickoff return.
Eagan scored in the first quarter on a 55-yard pass from Kaden Hanson to Eisley Nkwonta.
Eden Prairie 35, Eastview 7
Eden Prairie wasted no time taking control in its home opener, scoring three rushing touchdowns in the first half. Demetrius Covington scored Eastview’s touchdown on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter. The Lightning travels to Burnsville next week.