Cardinals get rare rash in rivalry
FARMINGTON – The Farmington 56-27 rout on Friday at Cardinal Stadium presents its biggest win in two decades in the series against rival Prairie Grove. The last time the Cardinals gained more than 29 points was when Bryan Law was head coach in 2000 when he won a 40-6 victory over the Tigers.
The total of 56 points is the second most scored by either team in the series. The 1973 Cardinals, coached by Allen Holland, defeated Prairie Grove by a 52-6 final en route to win a second straight Class B state football championship. The rivalry’s most lopsided game dates back to 1963 when Prairie Grove strangled Farmington, 73-0, at Prairie Grove in an 8-a-side football game.
Farmington recorded three consecutive shutouts from 1987 to 1989, shutting out Prairie Grove 14-0, 28-0 and 33-0.
Farmington has ruled Prairie Grove seven times; Prairie Grove has shut out Farmington eight times.
The first time Farmington encountered Prairie Grove on the football field was in a six-a-side football game in 1959. The contest was supposed to be a Farmington home game, but due to lighting issues, it was performed in Prairie Grove with a touch of irony. – Farmington has been named as the home team. The competition marked the first college football game Farmington High School played in its history.
The score was 24-16, with Farmington winning the first game ever played against the side that would become their main rival, Prairie Grove. The rivalry game has been played every year since 1959, with the exception of 1964. Schools played 8-a-side football rivalry matches from 1960 to 1963. The series resumed in 1965 with both schools fielding teams from 11 men’s football and Prairie Grove winning 34-0.
Including Friday’s game, of the 62 rivalry games played, 33 of them were the season opener. Farmington holds an 18-15 lead in season opener rivalry games.
Farmington won two consecutive state football championships in 1972 and 1973. Prairie Grove was the only team to defeat Farmington in 1972, the year the Cardinals won their first state championship. The Tigers toppled Farmington 13-0, but the Cardinals went 11-1 overall and won the state title.
The following year, Farmington defeated Prairie Grove 52-6 and the Cardinals finished 12-0 in an unbeaten season in 1973 while winning a second consecutive state crown.
Thirty-two years later, Prairie Grove advanced to the Class 4A final in 2015, including a 61-42 victory over current Farmington coach JR Eldridge, who was then head coach at Arkadelphia in the semi. -final on Dec. 4, 2015. The Tigers lost to Nashville, 39-20, in the state championship on Dec. 12, 2015, to finish second in state.
That year, the Cardinals won by a score of 28-12 during the regular season with the two teams in different classifications. Farmington has been a member of 5A West since 2014 and Prairie Grove will move to 5A next year.
Prairie Grove coach Danny Abshier took over from the Tigers in 1993. He lost his first coaching game in the rivalry as Farmington beat the Tigers 8-0. Abshier’s record in the series is 17-12. Abshier is a Farmington graduate who played in the rivalry while Farmington defensive coordinator Jay Harper played quarterback at Prairie Grove in the ’80s.
Eldridge resumed the Cardinal program on February 1. He won his first coaching game in the rivalry, 56-27, on Friday.