Tigers' two late scores edge Trojans, 13-6

Two heavyweights slugged it out on the Farmington football field Friday, and in the end, the host Tigers used a 1-2 punch to end the contest, scoring twice in the final six minutes to knock out the New Prague Trojans 13-6.

The win gives Farmington the Missota Conference title outright. They were 6-0 going into Wednesday's game with Holy Angels. New Prague and Northfield were tied for second at 4-2. The Trojans were scheduled to face Red Wing and Northfield hosted Prior Lake on Wednesday, after this edition of The New Prague Times went to press.

Even with the loss, New Prague has clinched one of the top two seeds for the Section 6AAAA playoffs. That means they will have a first round bye and open the section tournament at home on Saturday, Oct. 28. First round games will be held Tuesday, Oct. 24. New Prague and Waconia will have the top two seeds and first round byes. Going into Wednesday's games, Orono and St. Louis Park were likely the No. 3 and 4 seeds, with Shakopee the No. 5 seed and Mound-Westonka No. 6. The section championship game will be Friday, Nov. 3, with the top-seeded team hosting. New Prague is the defending Section champion.

Trojans strike first

Against Farmington, New Prague took the opening kick and struck quickly. They mixed the play calling, getting big gains both on the ground and in the air. Daren Geyen converted a third-and-4 play with a 13-yard gain, then on third and 5, Ross Skluzacek connected with Tony Kubes for a 12-yard gain, and Geyen followed with a 12-yard run. Brad Weiers put the Trojans on the board with a 15-yard touchdown pass with 8:40 left, giving the Trojans a 6-0 lead. Kubes' extra point attempt was no good.

Weiers came up with another big play on Farmington's first play from scrimmage, stripping the ball from the Tiger runner and then recovering, putting the Trojans in good field position, at the 35-yard line.

Kubes carried for 18 yards on the next play, but then the Trojans came up short on a third-down play and Kubes attempted a 27-yard field goal, which was blocked.

Farmington took over and marched down field, converting on three third downs, going deep into Trojan territory. However, a penalty and then a sack on fourth down gave the ball back to New Prague.

The Trojans again moved the ball downfield, but again the drive stalled and on fourth down, New Prague attempted another field goal, this time missing wide left. Farmington had another drive that took up a lot of time on the clock, but stalled out and the Trojans again took over on downs. The half ended with the Trojans maintaining a 6-0 lead.

At halftime, The Trojans had gained 99 yards rushing and 54 passing, while holding the Tigers to 81 yards rushing and 9 yards passing.

Tigers take charge

The Tigers took over on offense in the second half. Starting on the 20 yard line, they ran the ball 15 straight times for 60 yards. However, they threw two incompletions and turned the ball over on downs, with the Trojans taking over on the 16.

On their next possession, the Tigers moved inside the Trojan 10. However, a holding penalty cost the Tigers. On a fourth and 11 play, Farmington came up a yard short at the Trojan 1 and New Prague took over on downs.

The Trojans couldn't get anything going offensively, though, and narrowly avoided a safety before having to punt again. This time, Farmington got the ball to the 1 and then tried three times to hammer it in, finally succeeding on the third try. The point after was no good when the snap sailed over the Farmington kicker's head, and with 7:20 left, the game was tied at 6-6.

Farmington picked off a Skluzacek pass on the next series and after a third-and-5 play came up short and tried a 38-yard field goal that was wide left.

On a third-and-5 play Skluzacek hit his man with a pass that would have gone for a first down, but a Tiger defensive back knocked the ball loose and a teammate grabbed it in the air for another interception. On second and 8, the Tigers threw a pass that ended up on the 1-yard line and on the next play they scored to take their first lead of the game. The point after was good and it was 13-6 with 2:17 remaining.

But New Prague wasn't ready to concede the game. Skluzacek passed to Weiers for six yards and converted on a fourth-and-1 when Ryan Witty caught a pass for 23 yards, putting the ball in Tiger territory. However, two plays later the Tigers picked off a Trojan pass, clinching the win and the outright conference championship.

The Trojans had 195 yards of total offense for the game, 112 on the ground and 83 in the air. Farmington had 218 on the ground and 36 in the air for 254 yards of offense.

New Prague's leading rusher was Geyen with 81 yards on 13 carries. Kubes had eight carries for 25 yards, David McCollister had one carry for 5 yards, Nick Zweber two for 2 and Skluzacek three for minus-1.

Skluzacek was 7-of-17 passing for 83 yards. Weiers had three catches for 36 yards, Kubes 3 for 34 and Witty 1 for 23.

Defensively, Kevin Olson had 14 tackles and forced a fumble for the Trojans. Kubes had 11 tackles and broke up four passes, while Daren Geyen had nine tackles, Andy Simon eight and Nick Zweber seven.

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