In the strangest of results (predicted by absolutely no one), the Festus Tigers lost their first game of the season on Friday after a 10-7 heart-breaker to the Farmington Knights.
Defense was certainly the name of the game in this one as both teams held fast against their counterparts when it came to protecting their endzones. The game featured just two touchdowns and only three total scoring plays, including a scoreless first quarter.
Head Coach AJ Ofodile was convinced, “the effort was very good but (the) focused effort was not what we needed it to be to come out on top. To the players credit they fought through some tough situations to put us in position to win at the end, but we ultimately made too many mental mistakes. It was a very good learning experience and will help make us a better team going into districts.”
The second quarter featured the only scoring of the first half as Farmington benefited from a 5-yard touchdown run. That had the score sitting at 7-0 heading in to the locker room.
Defensive staple Luke Shaver had this to say about his team’s effort, “nothing really was working for us to be honest, Farmington’s offense and how they run the triple option is tough as nails, and hard to defend. It chips away the clock and they don’t really have breakaway plays, it’s just consistent yards.”
Back on the field after halftime both defensive sides held strong during a scoreless third quarter, but Festus found a way to finally break through in the fourth. Kaian Roberts-Day hauled in a 53-yard bomb from QB Cole Rickermann to knot the game at 7-7.
Sadly a late field goal by the Knights in the fourth quarter sealed the deal and the Tigers fell for the first time this season 10-7 in a defensive battle.
D-man Luke Greenstreet commented on the tough challenge of the Knights’ game plan, but is also looking to the future as far as districts are concerned. “On defense I think we came into the game with a pretty good game plan, we knew that they liked to run midline and veer, and I think we did a pretty decent job at stopping it but 2-3 yards per play adds up and makes first downs. We have a few guys down with injuries so we are gonna need players on both sides of the ball to step up and fill their role as best as they can until we get our A guys good and healthy.”
Teammate Cole Wagner felt the Tigers maybe just weren’t on their game, saying, “On the defensive side just doing our assignments and not trying to do too much is what allowed us to keep the scoring down. But overall our focus just wasn’t there and we need to do a better job this week on the mental side of things.”
For the numbers on the offensive side of the ball, Rickermann was 7/18 for 120 yards and a TD while also leading the team in rushing with 28 yards on just a pair of carries. Collin Doyle led the Tigers with 54 yards receiving on a team-high four catches.
Defense was paramount on the stat sheet though. Shaver led the team with 10 tackles and three assists, while Greenstreet had eight of his own with an assist. Desmond Davis had eight as well to round out the “ocho trifecta” and added a pair of TFLs to boot.
Coach Ofodile and company are hoping the offense rebounds, and this defensive prowess continues this week as the Tigers face off against St. Charles West (4-3) on Friday night.