Farmington football brings its 'A game' to open IHSA playoffs with blowout

Adam Duvall
Journal Star

FARMINGTON — Near perfect offensive and defensive execution by Farmington came at just the right time.

The Farmers beat visiting El Paso-Gridley 42-6 to open the Class 2A high school football playoffs on Saturday afternoon. Farmington (10-0) advances to the second round, hosting Tremont (8-2) — a 19-0 winner over Momence — next Saturday at 1 p.m.

On the offensive side of the ball, Kevin Shultz and Gage Renken helped establish the run game early.

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Shultz, who rushed for 230 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns, plunged into the end zone at the 5:56 mark of the first quarter. Renken, who had 62 rushing yards and a TD, then found Ethan Evans for a 55-yard TD following a Farmer interception from Tanner Kenney for a quick 14-0 lead.

Evans was playing his first game since suffering a broken collarbone in Week 3.

“I was super-excited to get back out there with my brothers,” said the 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior, who added a 20-yard TD grab in the third quarter, “and just play like it was my last game. I had to put everything into this (game).

“Getting out there and not hurting (my collarbone) was just a blast. Super fun.”

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Farmington coach Toby Vallas was extra excited to have another offensive weapon back.

“He’s been such a great leader for us,” Vallas said. “There’s very few kids that when they’re hurt, they still lead, and he’s undoubtedly till our leader this whole time he’s been hurt. Awesome to have him back.”

From there, it was the Farmington defense that settled in and took control. El Paso-Gridley (5-5) managed 95 total first-half yards, finishing with 155 scrimmage yards (114 passing, 41 rushing).

The Titans’ first six possessions resulted in a punt, an interception, turnover on downs, interception and back-to-back turnover on downs.

“We bring our ‘A’ game each time,” Shultz said of the defensive effort. “Just bring so much pressure on the offense, try to make them force mistakes.”

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Renken finished 13-for-22 with 239 yards and three TDs, finding six different receivers. Logan Morse had five catches for 66 yards. Corbin Rutledge hauled in a TD as part of a three-catch day.

EP-G QB Kamren Schumacher finished the day 7-of-22 with 114 yards. He hooked up with Ben Klein for the lone TD, a 44-yard strike.

Adam Duvall is a Journal Star sports reporter. Email him at aduvall@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamDuvall.