FARMINGTON — On a rainy night at Farmington High, the Platt Panthers picked up a win in their first game of the 2018 season, defeating the Indians 27-7.
The Panthers were powered by a lethal running game, led by Roberto Salas, and a monster second half that featured 21 unanswered points.
The first half of this one was spent exclusively in a downpour, leading to ball security issues on both sides.
After electing to receive, Farmington led an eight-minute drive, but it was ended when Royal Watkins picked off Jacob Conrad on a fourth-and-5 from inside the Platt 15.
Conrad went 6-for-7 on the drive, finding Niko Bouzakis three times, but left the last one short, allowing Watkins to nab the pick.
The Panthers were unable to capitalize, going three and out. They would get some momentum going on their next possession, as Salas picked up a first down to open the drive.
The wet conditions, though, would get to the sophomore running back. On his next carry, Salas broke through to pick up another 10 yards, but had the ball punched out of his hands by safety Aidan Sposato.
The fumble created the game’s second turnover, with the Indians Mitchell Guglielmo jumping on the ball and shifting momentum as the first quarter came to a scoreless close.
Platt’s defense struggled to stay off the field in the first half. The Panthers forced another Farmington punt, but a roughing-the-kicker penalty gave the Indians an automatic first down.
The Panthers were able to force a third-and-9 at their own 40-yard-line, but Conrad found Spasato for a 37-yard gain on a swing pass, setting up a first and goal at the 3-yard line for Farmington.
The Panthers defense held to set up a fourth and goal before Zahire Greaves punched in the game’s first score on a jet sweep with 7:22 remaining in the half, giving the Indians a 7-0 advantage.
Platt answered right back. Salas avenged his first quarter fumble on the ensuing drive. It started with a 21-yard scamper through the middle to set up a first down at their own 41.
Quarterback Lorenzo Sanson then dropped a dime down the right sideline to receiver Tremayne Carter for a 41-yard gain to put the Panthers in the red zone.
Salas finished the job, finding the end zone from 19 yards out on the very next play. The kick failed, leaving the Panthers down 7-6 with a little over six minutes to play in the half.
The score remained 7-6 at half, but Jake Baker changed that quickly once play resumed. The Platt senior took the second half kickoff to the house and Salas punched in the two-point conversion to give Platt a 14-7 lead.
Baker’s monster second half would continue as he reeled in a 36-yard bomb from Sanson to set up Sean Bell Jr.’s four-yard touchdown run.
Keaton Caffrey kept the momentum going for Platt, sacking Conrad on a fourth down in Panthers’ territory to turn the ball back to the offense.
Sanson went right back to the air, finding Carter for another big gain, this time a 30-yarder to set the Panthers up for first and goal at the 6.
A holding call set the Panthers back, but Sanson was able to find the end zone on a bootleg to extend the lead to 27-7 with 2:24 remaining in the third quarter.
The Panthers then burned some clock with Salas and Bell Jr. in the fourth. The two combined for a pair of scores and over 25 carries on the night as the Panthers closed out an impressive opening night win.
Farmington had one last chance with two minutes left before Joshua Rodriguez picked off Conrad to seal the deal for the Panthers.