Arguably no game on the football schedule is more important than the first of the
season. After a long offseason, starting the year off with a win to get momentum on your side
can have an immeasurable impact on your season. With a 40-21 win over the Rogers Heritage
War Eagles, fans of the Farmington Cardinals, as well as the team itself should be riding high
now that they have that ever important momentum on their side. Senior Walker McCumber
started the season with a bang, intercepting the War Eagles’ quarterback on their opening drive,
quieting the home fans. Sophomore quarterback Cameron Vanzant made sure to capitalize on
McCumber’s big play by leading the Cardinals on a 58 yard drive where he showed off both his
arm and his legs, capping it off with a 13 yard strike to Junior Peyton Funk in the endzone to get
Farmington it’s first touchdown of the season. It did not take long for Farmington to score again,
as after their second offensive possession sputtered out, their up-tempo shotgun offense
needed just five plays to go 67 yards and find the endzone again- this time Vanzant to Senior
Devonte Donovan, to make it 14-0 with under a minute left in the first quarter.
After a slow start where both teams failed to produce any significant drive, Rogers
Heritage finally found Cardinals territory in the second quarter. After breaking into the red zone,
the Cardinals defense fought back by forcing the War Eagles out by tackling Rogers Heritage in
the backfield for a loss of six before snuffing the War Eagles’ drive out all together with a hit to
the quarterback by Junior Andrew Disheroon forcing a fumble, initially being picked up by
Heritage but ultimately ending up in the hands of Farmington. Unlike their previous turnover, the
Cardinals came up empty handed and were held to a three and out on the subsequent drive.
That’s when their special teams inexperience hurt them. After a low snap delivery courtesy of
Farmington on the Cardinals’ punt attempt, Heritage was able to fall on the ball, giving them
possession at the Cardinals’ 24 yard line. Farmington almost had a repeat of the last time the
War Eagles were threatening to score, but a 4th and 10 conversion was soon followed up by a
three yard touchdown pass that got Heritage on the board, making the halftime score 14-7 after
Farmington kneeled out the clock on their following possession.
Once the Cardinals received the kickoff to start the third quarter, they made sure to
extend their lead back to two possessions in a hurry. Vanzant connected with Donovan over the
middle for the receiver's second touchdown of the game to polish off Farmington’s opening drive
of the second half. However, Heritage blocked Senior Luis Zavala’s extra point attempt to keep
the Cardinals within striking distance. It didn’t take long for a Farmington drive to bear fruit, as
their next possession may have started out at the Cardinal’s own six, but big gains from Seniors
Caden Elsik and Justin Logue put them at the Heritage 40. Farmington needed just four plays.
With a 35 yard gain by Junior Lawson Devault to find the end zone for a fourth time, Elsik
punched it in from the four yard line. Farmington attempted to make up for the blocked field goal
by forgoing the extra point and attempting to convert a two point conversion, but Vanzant was
tackled before he could reach the painted grass on a bootleg. After holding Heritage to a three
and out, you would think that Farmington would play more conservatively now that they had a
19 point lead late in the third.
Instead, Coach Eldridge continued to press Heritage, attacking them with curls and
slants, before Funk rose high into the night sky, above two War Eagle defenders, to pluck a 20
yard pass from Vanzant out of the air and fell right into the end zone for his second score and
Farmington’s fifth touchdown of the game. The play, which started the fourth, made
Farmington’s total 32 before Zavala’s extra point conversion made it 33-7 in favor of the
Cardinals. After a drive that saw many penalties called on Farmington’s defense, the War
Eagles were finally able to get their second score of the game on a 12 yard touchdown run. On
the very first play of the Cardinals’ follow up drive, Senior Myles Harvey, in at quarterback for
Vanzant, answered back with a 45 yard touchdown run. Refusing to be out done, Heritage fired
back with a three yard drive that ended with a 52 yard handoff that found the end zone, making
the score 40-21 in the blink of an eye. After a Farmington drive that saw many quarterback
keepers by Harvey, Heritage committed their third turnover of the game, this time an interception
by Junior Sam Wells, that iced the game.
After a handful of kneels, Farmington found themselves with their first win of the year. It
was a dominant performance by the Cardinals, the final score of 40-21 not truly reflecting it.
Heritage rarely found themselves in Cardinal territory and they had seemingly no answer for the
Farmington offense. With a win in tow, Farmington will roll into their home opener against rival
Prairie Grove on September 3rd at 7:00 PM in the Battle of Highway 62.