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High school football: Confident Farmington plows through Syracuse

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Farmington quarterback Wyatt Evertsen looks to the end zone during a game against Syracuse at Syracuse High School on Friday, Aug. 23, 2019.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

Box score

SYRACUSE — If Wyatt Evertsen was nervous at the prospect of going for it on fourth-and-2 from his team’s own 32-yard line early in the third quarter Friday at Syracuse, the Farmington High quarterback didn’t show it afterward.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound senior plunged forward for a 3-yard gain to grab the first down. The conversion fueled a 22-play drive that spanned 8 minutes, 23 seconds and ended with Evertsen scrambling toward the sideline before finding Hayden Wilcox for a 6-yard touchdown pass. The Phoenix outscored the Titans 14-0 in the second half and moved to 2-0 with a 35-14 win.

“I was confident because our guys the whole time were holding up for us,” Evertsen said about the fourth-down call, one of two fourth-down conversions on the drive.

It was a clutch moment, and according to Farmington head coach Daniel Coats, it wasn’t even the original play call.

“I actually told (Evertsen) to look at a couple of things, and he’s just that smart,” Coats said. “Put us in the right spot. The guys trust him. He’s an amazing leader and it’s just been going (well).”

Farmington, in just its second year, has a lot of work to do in building tradition, but Coats is happy with the confidence he’s seeing from his team so far. The Phoenix have already matched their win total from last season with Friday night’s victory.

“They busted their butts last year and last year we ran into a lot of hardships, but there was a lot of things that just didn’t fall our way, so I’ve been preaching to them all offseason to just keep pushing, it’ll come, stay true to what you know and who you are and things will happen right, and it’s starting to come through,” Coats said.

Farmington’s second-half shutout was aided by two interceptions from Nick Shirley. Shirley’s first interception of the half came as Syracuse was driving for a potential game-tying touchdown on the opening possession of the second half. The Titans had just executed a gadget play to get to the Phoenix 10. Two plays later, Shirley squashed the drive.

He picked up his second interception of the half with 5:21 left in the game after the Phoenix had added another touchdown.

“Honey badger mode, baby,” Shirley said, referencing popular NFL safety Tyrann Mathieu. “That was the mindset. Honey badger mode.”

Farmington and Syracuse traded touchdowns in the first quarter. Evertsen found Hayden Toone for an 8-yard touchdown pass to give the Phoenix an early lead, but Titans quarterback Brevin Hamblin responded with a 4-yard touchdown run.

Evertsen and Toone each ran for touchdowns in the second quarter, while Hamblin added another touchdown for the home team.

Jeremy Wilcox had a 3-yard touchdown run for Farmington with 5:21 remaining in the game to cap the scoring.

“I didn’t want this to be a shootout, so we tried to keep the ball as long as possible, and with our guys going both ways, try to keep them fresh on one side,” Coats said, noting the dangerous nature of Syracuse’s quarterback and receivers.

Mission accomplished.