By Dave Wagner
FARWELL — With Farwell struggling to get its offense rolling, the Steers relied on their defense.
Senior defensive end Grant Gregory led a furious pass rush that produced 10 sacks against Hart quarterback A.J. Carrasco, and Farwell broke though for three touchdowns in a span of less than two minutes in the final period to notch a 33-6 win over the Longhorns on Friday in a District 4-1A matchup.
Eight of the sacks came in the second half, including five on Hart’s last possession as the Steers were able to tee off with a comfortable lead. Gregory had three solo sacks and shared three others with teammates.
“We like to think the fourth quarter is ours,” said Gregory, who also caught one pass for 23 yards from his tight end position. “When they were walking off (after the third period) they were holding up four fingers, like they owned the fourth quarter, and that kind of motivated us.”
Bouncing back from a 36-19 loss at Nazareth, Farwell (6-1, 1-1 district) controlled most of the game. But a 13-0 halftime lead became tenuous when senior receiver Eran Castillo made a spectacular catch over a Farwell defender for a 38-yard touchdown, and a turnover and a 39-yard completion from Carrasco to Isaias Ponce moved the ball into Steers territory near the end of the third period.
But Farwell held on downs, thanks in large part to an 11-yard sack by Gregory, then drove 62 yards in 13 plays for a 1-yard TD run by sophomore Matthew Edwards with 5:06 left, his second score of the night.
Hart’s next two plays were disastrous — a fumble on the kickoff return and another fumble on a sack of Carrasco by Jose Cabello. Both were recovered by junior lineman Roper Fulcher, and both were quickly converted into touchdowns — runs of 21 yards by Rowdy Mitchell and 1 yard by Cabello.
“It took us a while (to get going),” Steers coach Jacob Thompson said. “Our (five) turnovers hurt us, but when we finally got the two-touchdown lead, it let us relax.”
The losses absorbed by Carrasco left Hart (1-6, 0-2) with a minus-41 yards rushing, offsetting his 230-yard passing night. Castillo and Ponce each caught five passes for 120 and 99 yards, respectively.
“We know we have a bigger offensive line than most people, especially on the right side,” said Gregory, who lines up outside of Cabello at guard and Joel Chavez at tackle. “This (win) helps our confidence a whole lot. We still have a great chance to make the playoffs.”
Farwell rushed for 254 yards, led by Edwards with 131 yards on 22 carries — including 101 yards in the first half — and Mitchell with 10 totes for 104.
“Matthew had an excellent first half, and then they took that away,” Thompson said. “Rowdy really stepped in and played well. And our offensive line, from tight end to tight end, played well tonight.”