FARWELL — For a half Thursday night, the Farwell Steers stayed right with District 5-1A leader Morton.
Then the Indians recovered an onside kick to start the second half, scored on their next play from scrimmage and were off to the races en route to a 51-28 victory.
Quarterback Emerson Cornish threw for 231 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for two scores while running back Luey Enriquez rushed for 217 yards on 22 carries as the Indians (6-3, 4-0 district) set up a battle for the title next week at home against Springlake-Earth.
At the intermission, though, the teams were tied 14-14, and the Steers (4-5, 2-2) led until the final two minutes of the half.
“You have to be ready to play every game, and we weren’t ready to play,” said Morton coach Don Rives, a former Texas Tech All-American who played seven seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. “They’re (Steers) a good ballclub. They came out and played their butts off tonight.”
Morton finished with 551 total yards, easily overcoming 132 yards in penalties. Rives wasn’t at all happy with the first half, though, and let his team know it at the break.
“We had a little ‘come to Jesus’ talk,” he said. “I told (his players) that if we did that again in the second half, we’d get beat.”
After the onside kick and a five-yard penalty against the Indians, Cornish threw a 49-yard TD pass to Trevor Arthur.
“We knew it was coming, but we’re real young,” Steers coach Mark Anglin said of the onside kick. “When they got that touchdown, our kids kind of let down mentally.”
Cornish also ran 5 yards for a score and added a 32-yard scoring toss to Colton Risinger in the period as the Indians opened a 35-14 lead.
Farwell, though, didn’t quit. Sophomore quarterback Landry Actkinson threw a pair of touchdown passes to sophomore Colton Christian in the fourth period.
After the Steers’ last score, however, Morton’s Derek Garcia scooped up an onside kick and ran it back 53 yards for the final tally of the night.
Anglin said the Steers were hurt by injuries to wide receiver-defensive backs Austin Wright, who did not play at all, and Bo Mitchell, who came out in the third quarter with a headache after taking a hard shot.
“They’ve got a lot of seniors,” Anglin said of the Indians. “The Cornish kid’s a good athlete, and I think their offensive line is as good as any we’ve played all year.”
Actkinson completed 17-of-35 passes for 246 yards and four TDs. Senior Caleb Christian had six catches for 120 yards, while Colby Christian grabbed five for 32 yards.
The Steers are still in good shape to earn the district’s third playoff berth, needing either a win at winless Anton next week or a loss tonight by Smyer against Springlake-Earth to make it.