It was Socrates who said that you are what you most consistently do. With that, let's look at the Farmingdale Dalers football program. They have established a tradition in excellence. This is a team that has had undefeated seasons, county championships, an unscored upon season, the award the Rutgers Cup, state, regional and national rankings; you name it, and the Dalers have probably accomplished it. Probably. But until Saturday, Dec. 1, Farmingdale has never claimed the title of Long Island Champion in the 10 years that the championship has been in existence. The Dalers have had their chances, in fact, they played in the very first Class I Long Island Championship, but lost that game 27-0. Even with the leadership of the legendary Don Snyder, victory eluded Farmingdale. The next chance came in 1999, seven years later, with a new staff and a new crew of hungry young players. However, Farmingdale would face another heart-wrenching loss, as they fell 13-6. Fast-forward 2001. The stage was set. A team of similar composition to that which had fallen in 1999, led by their seasoned general Buddey Krumenacker, was poised to finish their season with a win and make history against the William Floyd Colonials. They did just that.
The game began with a bang. Farmingdale received the opening kick-off, but Jerrod Bradley was stopped early as he made it to the 22-yard line. Players from the two powerful teams were eager to begin the competition that would name the Long Island champion. Farmingdale had a headstart, taking advantage of an undersized Floyd defensive line, pounding the ball up the field. The drive was not an easy one. The Colonials are known to toughen up in their own red-zone, and they did just that against the Dalers. It took the shifty ankles of Matt Danowski to cap the drive off, as he scrambled into the end zone, with senior Co-Captain Drew Kane and Will Presti making key blocks to clear his path. However, Farmingdale had the ensuing extra point blocked. This was important as missed conversions gave this game the potential to be a nail-biter. Floyd took the ball on their next possession and via great field position, they seemed as if they would take the lead. However, Farmingdale's defense had its first of many stands, not allowing Floyd to get into the end zone throughout the night. Or did they? There was a controversial call made by the referees on a Floyd touchdown play. Still, the Daler "D" played strong, and didn't allow Floyd into the end zone. The offense for Farmingdale would remain consistent in the first half, but wouldn't put up points again until the second quarter.
The Daler offense rolled again in the second quarter. After receiving the ball from Floyd on a punt, they began a 71-yard scoring drive. Again, Danowski collected a majority of the yards on the drive for Farmingdale behind a strong offensive line. The Farmingdale o-line and backfield were on the same page almost all night long, successfully completing key third down conversions, like the 38-yard pass from Danowski to Brendan Skakandi that kept the drive alive. A couple of plays later, Danowski slithered through the Floyd defense for a chunk of yardage, putting his team into scoring position. Wait! A flag on the play pushed Farmingdale back further instead of closer to "the promised land." Rather than wade in a sea of "could've, should've and would'ves," the Dalers struck right back, as Matt Danowski propelled the ball right into senior Co-Captain Rob Bonagouro's chest, and the big back proceeded to tip-toe backwards into the end zone making the score 12-0. The Dalers looked to get a 14-0 lead with a two point conversion, but they were held off by the Colonials once again. Though they were ahead and were shutting out their opponents, the missed conversions loomed in the minds of the Daler staff and fans alike. This was with good reason, as Floyd threatened to score once again on their very next possession. Led by the speedster Chad Rissland, Floyd ran the ball to the Daler's six-yard line. The Daler "D" stepped up once again and they kept Floyd out of the end zone. However, Floyd did manage a field goal, and made the game 12-3 at the half.
Both teams stepped onto the field in the second half looking to shut the other down. Both were determined not to yield. But, both could not win the game. Floyd has, in the past, made a name for itself by overcoming the odds five times with forth-quarter comebacks. That would not happen against the Dalers. Rob Romano led a defense that got even tougher in the second half, as he finished the game with seven tackles and a game high four sacks. One of these sacks was key, as he got onto Floyd's Henry Ford twice in a row, and stripped the ball away the second time, allowing Yinka Bosede to recover a pivotal fumble, and sending the Floyd offense off the field for good. The Daler offense took the field together in what they knew would be their last possession as a team. Ever. With this in mind, when their offensive coordinator, Pete Melore, told them that they didn't need a first down but one would seal the game for sure, they made it past the chains together for one last time. With the game over, Farmingdale won its first Long Island Championship 12-3.
This championship team is a tightly knit group, like brothers. They were teammates on and off the field. Each member played for one another, with one another. All this being said, they huddled together one last time after the game, and not "Dalers!", but "Family!", was their exclamation. This was team, a family, that had overcome adversity together more than once. They fought back in the second half of Week 6 to erase a 20 point Uniondale lead to win their homecoming game, they avenged a Week 8 loss to Freeport with a 13-6 Nassau Championship victory, and claimed the first Long Island Championship of this storied football organization. They are a group to be remembered.