Friona’s linemen hold off Farwell for win

Jesse Wolfersberger: Freedom Newspapers

FARWELL — Size does matter — especially on the front lines of a high school football game.
Friona’s jumbo linemen proved the point on Friday night in a 27-12 win over Farwell.

Farwell coach Jacob Thompson said the line mismatch was made worse by injuries.

“We had a couple linemen get dinged up so we had to pull them,” Thompson said. “We were playing with a couple subs and they were giving up probably 70 pounds a man on their linemen.

“It hurt us. They probably average 230 pounds across their front.”

The Chieftains’ line disrupted everything Farwell’s offense tried to do. The Steers could not open holes and ran for only 47 yards.

Quarterback Derrick Chandler was under pressure every time he dropped back to pass. He threw for only 79 yards.

“They had some pretty big guys over there,” Chandler said. “We had some guys go down and our backups stepped up. They have some big guys on their defensive line and they stopped us pretty good.”

Farwell hung tough early, even leading 12-6 in the second quarter after Roper Smith blocked a punt and Colby Norton returned the ball 64 yards for a score.

But from there, the game belonged to the Chieftains, who rattled off 21 unanswered points.

Friona struck first, with Tolby Wilcox catching a Sawyer Reed pass for a first-quarter touchdown. The Steers tied it on a Matthew Edwards run early in the second quarter before Norton’s return put them ahead.

Then Eddie Ortiz regained the lead for Friona with a 39-yard run, and Ruben Chico sealed the win with two touchdown runs.

Farwell made the game interesting early in the final period. Lining up in punt formation on fourth and long, the Steers ran a fake and snapped the ball to Norton, who picked up a first down.

Norton said he usually is not in the fake-punt package.

“I had to step up for Matthew Edwards,” Norton said. “He had a slight concussion so I was back there. We ran the fake punt, and we picked up the first down. It was a team effort.”

The Steers drove into Friona territory, but the comeback hopes died when the Chieftains’ Antonio Monreal picked off a pass.

Friona’s slow-and-steady approach racked up 243 yards of offense for the night.

Chieftains coach Bob Ferguson pointed to his team’s passing game as a factor in the win.

“We’ve always been known as a option team,” Ferguson said. “But we’ve been able to pass the ball the past couple of games and get ourselves out of some trouble. We hit some big third downs and some long passes and it was good for us.”

Ferguson’s quarterback, sophomore Sawyer Reed, threw for 116 yards and a touchdown.

“Our senior twisted his knee and our little sophomore (Reed) has stepped up and done a good job,” Ferguson said.