Deja vu

Farmers soar past Eagles; will take on Warriors for third straight season


Jade Slaughter

Junior Ethan Terrell (7) runs the ball during the Allen game on Friday, Nov. 11.

For a third straight year, the varsity football team (10-1, 7-0 district) will face the Arlington Martin Warriors (10-1, 6-0 district) in the area round of the playoffs. The team most recently defeated Allen in the bi-district round of the playoffs, where Martin played and beat Berkner.

The two teams have split in their previous two games; Martin shut out the team 68-0 in 2020, but the Farmers beat the Warriors 35-18 in 2021. The Warriors’ offense has scored 546 total points and the team won eight of their 11 games by 20 or more points. However, despite scoring upwards of 50 points in six games, they were greatly limited in their lone loss to Allen, losing by a score of 27-16.

“We know they’re gonna come out hard,” senior defensive back Cameren Jenkins said regarding the team’s previous meetings with Martin. 

The Warriors offense has a lot of depth as at least 10 different players have recorded a rushing attempt or reception. The group is led by senior running back Michael Zaire Barrow, who has rushed for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns on 118 carries. Barrow, who missed the game against Berkner, has also caught 19 receptions for 231 yards and a pair of touchdowns and is more of an overall athlete for the Warriors offense to spread around their formation.

Junior quarterback Tristan Bittle is the starter at quarterback and he has completed 56% of his passes for 1,462 yards and 15 touchdowns, five of them to top target senior receiver Jeremiah Charles. Charles is tied with senior receiver Isaiah Deleon for the team lead with 20 receptions, and Charles also leads the team with 397 receiving yards. 

“We are expecting them to pass a lot,” Jenkins said. “We [already] know what routes and concepts they’re going to run.”

The Warriors defense have intercepted 11 passes in 2022, unsurprising for a secondary with three-star senior defensive backs in Javien Toviano, Josiah Charles and Anthony Crenshaw. Charles and Crenshaw have each reeled in a team-high three interceptions, while Toviano, the projected District 8-6A defensive MVP by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine, has two interceptions and 37 tackles.

Senior edge rusher Ca’Dynce Hall has stepped up as the leader of a young front seven, as he leads the team with 5.5 sacks and four tackles for loss. Junior linebackers Kartsen Webb and Jake Landrum lead the team with a combined 181 total tackles and Landrum has also recorded four sacks while lined up on the edge.

The Farmers most recently beat the Allen Eagles in the final game at Max Goldsmith Stadium in 2022, winning by a final score of 43-18. Junior quarterback Ethan Terrell completed seven of his 10 pass attempts for 55 yards and the game’s opening touchdown, a 31-yard touchdown to junior safety and all-purpose player Jaydan Hardy. Terell also rushed for 164 yards and four touchdowns on just 14 carries, outrunning junior running back Viron Ellison’s 160 yards on 24 carries. 

The team’s defense put pressure on Eagles junior quarterback Mike Hawkins all night, with the defensive line totaling eight hurries. Senior defensive end Carl Malvo recorded the game’s only sack, his ninth of the season to go with four tackles. Junior cornerback Tony-Louis Nkuba recorded his team-leading sixth interception of the season while Hardy intercepted a pass of his own late in the first half. 

Martin’s success in the game will depend on their young players, like their offensive line which features not a single senior starter, adapts to playoff football; the game will take place at Gerald J. Ford Stadium, home to the SMU Mustangs. Junior Konye Frazier and senior Sergio Snider could play a bigger role as running backs should Barrow miss another game. 

“What [the] coaches said was that [Martin’s] kind of [a] bully,” Jenkins said. “We just have to tackle them and not let them walk all over us.”

The Farmers, meanwhile, have avoided the injury bug all season, but are ranked behind Martin in the Texas state rankings (Martin No. 16, Lewisville No. 19). The winner of this game will face the winner of Midland Legacy-Keller in the region round of the playoffs. As the second round of Texas playoff football gets underway, the contenders of each bracket are being figured out.