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Dalers Narrowly Beat MacArthur

Temperatures were low, but the intensity of the playoff atmosphere ran high throughout Farmingdale High School on Friday, Nov. 5. The Dalers, third seed in Nassau County’s Conference I, hosted the sixth seeded MacArthur Generals in the opening round of postseason play. In the previous meeting between these two teams, back in September, Farmingdale prevailed (31-26).

The Dalers started off the game with the first possession but were forced to punt. The Generals drove 83 yards down the field, striking first on running back Brett Ellers’ TD from less than five yards out.

The extra point was good; MacArthur led 7-0 with four minutes left in the first quarter. Farmingdale answered back, marching down the field from the 33-yard line.

On 1st and goal, Brian Prendergast took a handoff from the 9-yard line and scored to put the Dalers on the board. The extra point was converted, and at the end of quarter one, the score was knotted 7-7.

The two teams exchanged punts early in the second quarter. After forcing MacArthur to punt again midway through the quarter, Farmingdale took over at the 36-yard line. On 2nd and 8, quarterback Sal Tuttle threw a deep pass over the middle of the field that seemed destined to be intercepted. Receiver Vinny Schultz jumped and made an excellent catch to gain 33 yards.

A few plays later, on 4th down and 5, Farmingdale rolled the dice and opted to go for it. Tuttle dropped back and fired a pass to Pat Starke, giving the Dalers a first down inside the 10-yard line.

The next play, running back Kevin Wahl took a handoff, made a defender miss, and scored to put Farmingdale ahead. The score stood at 14-7 with less than four minutes left in the half.

The Generals’ next possession began at the 36-yard line. Quarterback Kevin Monahan rolled to his right and lofted a pass to running back Tom Joyce to pick up 19 yards.

Joyce took a handoff and then threw deep to receiver Will Cheshire to connect for a 38-yard TD and tied the game at 14.

Starke’s returned kickoff straight up the middle was brought down at Farmingdale’s 47-yard line with two minutes left. The Dalers picked up two first downs and took the ball inside MacArthur’s 20-yard line.

On a 3rd down and 10, Tuttle took the snap, rolled right, and then scrambled back to his left to elude the blitzing Generals’ defenders. He threw a high pass to receiver Rodney Torruella, who jumped, came down with the ball, picked up blocks and ran 18 yards into the end zone with less than 15 seconds remaining. At the half, Farmingdale led, 21-14.

The Generals got the ball first to open the second half and threatened to score after Tom Joyce took a pitch 55 yards to the Dalers’ 11-yard line. Farmingdale’s defense toughened up, forcing 4th down. MacArthur’s 26-yard field goal attempt missed wide left, Dalers took over at their own 20 but were forced to punt. The Generals and Dalers exchanged punts again. The third quarter ended with a Generals punt to the Dalers, the score still 21-14.

Farmingdale had possession at their 43-yard line when the quarter began, and moved the chains once before facing a 4th and 5th at MacArthur’s 45-yard line. Farmingdale’s offense stayed on the field and appeared to be going for the first down, but Tuttle took the snap and punted the ball, pinning the Generals at their own 6-yard line. A 14-yard pass to Joyce moved MacArthur to the 20-yard line.

Monahan threw a screen to backup quarterback Gerard Cunningham, and threw to Joyce for a 57-yard gain. Joyce took a handoff six yards into the end zone to cut Farmingdale’s lead to 21-20.

The Generals lined up in field goal formation, but Monahan took the snap and threw to Ellers, shocking everyone at Don M. Snyder Stadium, putting MacArthur in the lead, 22-21, with seven minutes left.

The kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Dalers great field position at their own 41-yard line. After four carries by Wahl and a reverse to Prendergast, Farmingdale was faced with a 4th down and inches to go situation from MacArthur’s 30-yard line with less than five minutes to go.

Tuttle, in the shotgun, faked the handoff to Wahl and took it himself, running to the 10-yard line and giving his team the first down. After two handoffs to Wahl and a fumbled snap could not give the Dalers the chance to score, it was 4th down from the 7-yard line.

They sent out kicker Greg Catalano to earn the lead, and he did just that, hitting the 24-yard field goal, putting Farmingdale, 24-22.

The Generals then had two minutes to regain the lead and save their season. A screen to Joyce and two more passes from Monahan took them to Farmingdale’s 30-yard line.

Two more completions brought up 4th down and three, from the 23. MacArthur then lined up to attempt the 39-yard field goal that would have put them ahead.

The kick had the distance, but narrowly missed to the left. With no timeouts remaining, MacArthur’s season was over.

Tuttle completed 12 of 19 passes for 143-yard and a TD. Wahl took 22 carries for 146 yards and a score. Schultz led Farmingdale’s receiving corps with five catches for 76 yards. Linebacker Mike Palmer led the team with 17 tackles and Carl Brescia added 10 tackles.

For MacArthur, Monahan finished 14 of 23 with 186 yards. Joyce and Ellers combined to rush for 110 yards and two TDs.

This game was full of emotions for both sides, as the Generals’ season came to a close and Farmingdale’s seniors played their final game on Farmingdale’s home field. With this victory, the Dalers advanced to round two of the postseason to play the second seeded Oceanside Sailors on Thursday, Nov. 11 at Hofstra’s James M. Shuart Stadium.