Steers off to solid start

CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth/Farwell junior wide receiver Robbie Tabb pulls in a catch in front of Petersburg defensive back Chris Ovalle during the second half of Friday’s game in Farwell.

Dave Wagner

FARWELL — Farwell took another step Friday to proving its doubters wrong.
And they did it the hard way, scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone on a bad punt snap early in the fourth quarter and holding for a 14-7 win over the Petersburg Buffaloes.
Farwell improves to 2-0 with the win.
“I thought we played pretty good as a team,” said senior wide receiver-cornerback Robbie Tabb, who caught two passes for 50 yards and added a game-clinching pass interception.
“We’ve got a lot to prove,” he said. “(Some) people have picked us to finish last in our district, but we want to prove them wrong.”
With Petersburg facing fourth-and-3 on its own 21, the ball was snapped over punter Bobby Rosas’ head and rolled into the end zone. Farwell junior Joel Chavez fell on it for a touchdown, erasing the Steers’ 7-6 deficit with 10:49 left. Quarterback Jason Johnson then found Grant Gregory on a 2-point conversion pass.
Petersburg took over on its own 7 with 44 seconds left after a Farwell punt, but reached the Farwell 20 four plays later after completions of 37 and 36 yards from Caleb Bright to Mark Chavez. Bright then misfired on three straight passes, and his fourth-down toss to Chris Ovalie was intercepted near the goalline by Tabb as time expired.
“I was getting a little nervous there,” Tabb said.
“Robbie Tabb did a great job of stepping up for us tonight,” Steers coach Jacob Thompson said. “He made two great catches and a great interception. He showed what kind of a ballplayer he can be.”
Petersburg had the Steers on their heels much of the first half, mounting a 12-play drive in the first quarter that ended on downs, Petersburg eventually took advantage of favorable field position to move in front a 22-yard TD strike from Bright to Ovalie seven minutes before halftime.
Farwell did not manage a first down until the final two minutes of the half, but mounted a last-ditch drive helped by a personal foul penalty on the Buffaloes. Johnson hit Rowdy Mitchell for back-to-back 9-yard gains, then lofted a 27-yard scoring strike to Tabb with 50 seconds left.
The Steers missed the PAT kick, and trailed 7-6 at the break.
Farwell threatened in the third quarter, but Petersburg’s Martin Martinez made his second fumble recovery of the night at the Buffaloes’ 15.
“Our kids played well,” first-year Petersburg coach Kenny Eudy said. “We’re a little rough around the edges right now. But you have to give (the Steers) credit; they did a good job.
“We’ll learn from it and go on. We’re far from through.”
Friday’s win, though, ended Petersburg’s three-game winning streak over the Steers.
“Our defense really stepped up in the second half,” Thompson said. “I don’t know how many yards rushing they had in the second half, but I know it wasn’t that many.”
Both teams managed only eight first downs. Petersburg, buoyed by the late passes to Chavez, finished with a 182-161 margin in total offense.
“We weren’t moving it real well on offense,” Tabb said of the first half. “We changed some blocking schemes at halftime, and things seemed to work better.
“We’ve got a lot of room for improvement, but as long as we keep working at it I think we’ll be all right.”