POPLAR BLUFF -- In the span of 24 seconds in the third quarter, Farmington's 14-point lead was gone Friday night as the 10th-ranked
Knights lost their first game of the season 28-21.
Poplar Bluff took the lead early in the fourth quarter on a 70-yard touchdown run by Todd Tinsley, who finished with 185 yards - all but 3 yards coming in the second half. "We're real proud of the way the kids hung in there," Farmington coach John Bacon said. "We were up by 14 and then they go up by 14. In a lot of situations kids would slow down a little bit or get discouraged but these guys didn't, they hung in there and played hard."
The Knights (5-1) had a chance to tie the game late after Josh Kimrey's third interception gave Farmington new life. Stuart Sago hit John Roark for a 48-yard pass on the next play and later hit Eric Schweiss for a 4-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal. That cut Poplar Bluff's lead to 28-21 with 1:08 remaining.
Farmington's Dwayne Glaspy recovered the onside kick in Poplar Bluff territory but Sago was hit from behind and fumbled with 47 seconds left.
"Bluff just did a great job in the second half," Bacon said. "They had a couple of key turnovers they took away and that helped their momentum."
Down 14-0 at halftime, the Mules opened the third quarter with a 9-play, 83-yard drive to cut Farmington's lead in half.
On the Knight's first offensive play of the second half, Sago was intercepted by Asa Wyatt and Poplar Bluff tied the game on their next play, an 8-yard run by Tinsley.
Sago, who threw three touchdown passes, finished with 222 yards on 18-of-32 passes while Roark caught eight for 128 yards. Farmington gained just 32 yards on the ground as Sago was sacked seven times, four by Joel Barbour.
The Mules (2-4) rushed for 227 yards with all but 1 yard coming in the second half and quarterback Mark Gum threw for 157 yards on 12-of-22 passes including four interceptions.
"That first half we did a great job, caused a lot of turnovers and that was big," Bacon said. The Knights scored on their opening drive, marching 80 yards on 11 plays ending on Sago's 28-yard pass to Roark on fourth down.
Sago later converted another fourth down with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Schweiss with 5:14 left in the half for a 14-0 lead.
"Turnovers are always big and we got them in the first half and they got them in the second half," Bacon said.