It was a spirited effort, but in the end it turned out to be an unhappy homecoming for the Farmingdale Dalers. East Meadow scored on offense, defense, and special teams, and withstood a second half Farmingdale rally to come away with the 48-38 win in Conference I football action Friday night.
It was the first loss of the season for the Dalers (5-1). East Meadow is also 5-1.
Farmingdale had run up the score this season, tallying over 40 points four times due to a punishing ground attack. Against the Jets, they got a taste of their own medicine, early and often. East Meadow seldom went to the air, but it didn't matter. Led by Billy Andrle, the Jets ate up yardage and the clock, converting two fourth downs on their opening drive, with Andrle's 12-yard TD run giving his team a 7-3 lead.
The Dalers tried to answer in the second quarter, with QB Joe Valente completing a pair of long passes to Richie Morris. Then, an early turning point, as Valente's pitch was fumbled, and there was Andrle to scoop up the mistake and return it 53 yards to make it 14-3.
"A defensive touchdown in a game like this is huge," said Dalers coach Buddy Krumenacker. "You take seven off of there, this whole thing looks a little different."
The Jets 'D' kept Farmingdale at bay, and Bobby Bender added a 1-yard score to make it 21-3 at the half.
Then, another back breaker for the Dalers, as the Jets' Robbie Bergmann took the second half kickoff to the house to the tune of 83 yards, and a 28-3 lead.
A 38-yard TD pass from Valente to Tom Kennedy brought the home team closer, but on 4th down, it was Billy Andrle again, this time notching a 51- yard TD run, and it was 35-10.
The final quarter and a half would take those in attendance on a wild roller coaster of big plays and thrills. The Dalers' Curtis Jenkins broke loose for a 74-yard run to the two, with teammate Kevin Petit-Frere scoring right after. Farmingdale recovered the onside kick, but after a big gain on a screen pass, Jenkins fumbled the ball back to the Jets.
Andrle scored again, from three yards out, but seconds later, Morris took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for the score. Time for another onside kick, and once again the Dalers got it. Morris took another screen pass, and this time took it 26 yards for the score, pulling Farmingdale to within 10 at 41-31, throwing the packed stadium into a frenzy.
This time, however, the Jets would be ready for the onside kick, and maintained possession. Nick Suchocki converted a key fourth down, and later scored on a 12-yard run to put East Meadow back up by 17.
The home team simply wouldn't go away, as it took all of two plays to score on their next drive, with Valente running it in from 19 yards out. The onside kick would not be successful, and the Jets were able to run out the final three minutes and secure the win.
"We showed a lot of heart, we didn't give up, we played until the last play and that shows a lot about our team," Valente said.
Suddenly, Conference I is a whole lot tighter, with both teams tied for second, a half game behind Oceanside, which plays on Saturday. Next up for Farmingdale, a game against last place Freeport.
"We're going to go back to practice and work on the things that we work on," Krumenacker said. "We're not going to change anything, we're going to do what we do...we'll fix things, but we're not about to reinvent the wheel here, we're 5-1 and we're going to continue to play."
East Meadow 7......14.....14.....13 -- 48
Farmingdale 3.......0......14.....21 -- 38
F - Kolodny 33 FG
EM - Andrle 11 run
EM - Andrle 53 fumble rec.
EM - Bender 1 run
EM - Bergmann 83 kick return
F - Kennedy 38 pass from Valente
EM - Andrle 51 run
F - Petit-Frere 2 run
EM - Andrle 3 run (kick failed)
F - Morris 80 kick return
F - Morris 26 pass from Valente
EM - Suchocki 12 run
F - Valente 19 run