Quar­ter­back, Run Game Do In Car­di­nals

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS WEEK - By Mark Humphrey

FARM­ING­TON — In­abil­ity to run the foot­ball cou­pled with the re­turn of Mor­ril­ton ju­nior quar­ter­back Ja­colby Criswell came at an in­op­por­tune time for Farm­ing­ton dur­ing Fri­day’s 52-30 loss.

Criswell, who has been out since sus­tain­ing a knee in­jury in Au­gust, re­port­edly has schol­ar­ship of­fers from SEC schools: Arkansas, Ge­or­gia, Ole Miss and North Carolina State, and oth­ers, and is con­sid­ered among the state’s top re­cruits in the 2020 class. Criswell saw his first ac­tion Fri­day and looked sharp at Farm­ing­ton.

Farm­ing­ton coach Mike Adams pre­pared two dif­fer­ent game plans in the event that Criswell, who Mor­ril­ton pre­dicted might share time with se­nior quar­ter­back Dy­lan Wright, would take the field. Criswell got the bulk of the play­ing time, ap­pear­ing in 10 of the of­fense’s 12 pos­ses­sions. Criswell com­pleted 18-of-26 passes for 297 yards and two touch­downs, both in the sec­ond half.

“We pre­pared all week for Ja­colby be­cause that’s just the way our season’s gone,” Adams said. “We felt like if there’s any­thing that could hap­pen, would. So, we pre­pared for him. We had two dif­fer­ent game plans for Dy­lan White or for Ja­colby Criswell. It’s not like we weren’t ready for him to be out there.”

As good as Criswell is, suc­cess by Mor­ril­ton in the run game (31 rushes, 164 yards, 5.3 av­er­age), com­pounded by Farm­ing­ton’s 28 to­tal rush­ing yards on 30 car­ries for less than a yard-per-carry led to the dis­par­ity on the score­board. Mor­ril­ton ju­nior running back Xaviar Cle­mons scored four rush­ing touch­downs, all in the first half. He had 23 car­ries for 139 yards. Farm­ing­ton stayed in the game into the third quar­ter thanks to its pass­ing at­tack. Farm­ing­ton se­nior quar­ter­back Eric Hill threw for 425 yards and 4 touch­downs.

“Our kids, I can’t fault their ef­fort,” Adams said. “We played our hearts out, but we had a chance to make a cou­ple of plays we didn’t make. We had our hands on two in­ter­cep­tions that we didn’t make that would have stopped drives that they ended up scor­ing on, and then we had twice turned short passes into long touch­downs when we missed tack­les.”

Qual­ity play from Criswell couldn’t be de­nied. He dropped back to pass on third-and-five with Mor­ril­ton lead­ing 45-30 late in the fourth and was chased out of the pocket by Farm­ing­ton’s Colton Kil­gore, who lunged at his feet as Criswell took off. No Car­di­nal was able to match his speed as he ran for a 22-yard touch­down, a sce­nario Adams saw oc­cur more of­ten than he wanted.

“Three times, I can re­mem­ber par­tic­u­larly in the sec­ond half, we cov­ered their guys up, we put a rush on the quar­ter­back; and of course, he scram­bled,” Adams said. “No­body could catch him. He made a big play on us. He did it two or three dif­fer­ent times. Give credit to him. He’s a great player. That’s why Ge­or­gia and Auburn and all those peo­ple are after him. He’s go­ing to be a great player in col­lege.”

Adams praised ju­nior wide re­ceiver Drew Stur­geon, who had 9 catches for 198 yards and a touch­down.

“He’s just a re­ally fine re­ceiver,” Adams said. “Again, our kids played hard, I’m proud of them.”

kick), 10:42

Farm­ing­ton — Mar­qwaveon Wat­son 17-yard pass from Eric Hill (Drew Stur­geon kick), 8:31. Farm­ing­ton — Tony Mayo 55-yard pass from Eric Hill (Drew Stur­geon kick), 7:09.

Mor­ril­ton —Xaviar Cle­mons 5-yard run (Je­sus Arias kick), 4:11. Third Quar­ter

Mor­ril­ton — La­mar Wof­ford 45-yard pass from Ja­colby Criswell (Je­sus Arias kick), 10:32. Farm­ing­ton — Safety, 6:47. Farm­ing­ton —Tony Mayo 16-yard pass from Eric Hill (Drew Stur­geon

MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Farm­ing­ton se­nior Reid Turner cuts be­side a block after catch­ing a pass out of the back­field. Turner gained 26 yards on the play, but Farm­ing­ton lost 52-30 Fri­day.

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