FARMINGTON — No last-minute heroics were needed Saturday in Farmington.
A year after a 70-yard touchdown pass in the final minute helped the Farmers clip Winnebago in the playoffs, Farmington dominated from the start in beating the Indians 48-6 in a Class 3A opening-round rematch.
The running clock victory comes five years after Winnebago running-clocked Farmington 56-13 in the first round of the 2012 playoffs.
The Farmers (10-0) looked every bit like the No. 1 seed in the 3A upper bracket with the convincing victory against the No. 16-seeded Indians (6-4).
Farmington plays Wilmington (9-1), a 30-14 winner over Elmwood/Brimfield, at 2 p.m. next Saturday in the second round.
“It was good team football today,” said Farmington coach Toby Vallas, after his team rushed for 323 yards, bottled up the Winnebago offense and led 35-0 at the half.
Despite the lopsided score, this game may have turned on one play three minutes into the game.
Winnebago took the opening kickoff and methodically marched to the Farmers' 12-yard line. But Farmington senior Cade Lansford intercepted a tipped pass, weaved in and out of would-be Indians tacklers and scored a 95-yard pick six at the 8:49 mark of the period.
“Cade Lansford’s interception just changed the game,” Vallas said. “Cade’s a kid that missed last year hurt. He’s getting better every week and more and more comfortable. Now we’re seeing Cade Lansford for what he is, because he’s a special player.”
Winnebago coach Mark Helm agreed on the importance of the early swing.
“Definitely, a tide turner,” Helm said. “You get this time of year, the margin of teams is minimal. Today they were a better football team, there’s no doubt. That play had an impact, but you have to rebound from those things and we didn’t.”
Farmington’s next points also came from the defense, as junior lineman Jarod DePriest tackled Winnebago fullback Grant Watson in the end zone for a safety.
Then the Farmers offense went to work, mostly on the ground.
Dash Anderson raced 33 yards for a TD four plays later, then added a 24-yard score just into the second quarter to put Farmington up 22-0.
Farmington quarterback Hayden Bradt, who finished with 121 yards rushing, dragged two Winnebago defenders the final five yards of a 28-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter.
And Anderson added his third TD of the day, on an 18-yard blast to push the Farmers lead to 35-0 with 2:02 left in the half.
Farmington started the running clock on its first possession of the second half, when Bradt went 16 yards down the left side line for a 42-0 edge.
“The offensive line was dominant,” Vallas said. “Having the weapons we have on the outside is forcing people to spread out on us and defend it. Today, they chose to let us run and that’s what happened.”
And the Farmers defense limited Winnebago to 189 total yards.
“Defensively, we were just on top of our game,” Vallas said. “DePriest and (Evan) Marion took the game over inside. (Senior linebacker) Jack Fletcher had a nice game.”
Stan Morris can be reached at 686-3214 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @stanmorrispjs