A.J. Otranto leads Floyd to Long Island Class I championship
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For three straight years, Floyd has been fortified by a daily dose of vitamin A.J.
A.J. Otranto started every game in that stretch, led the Colonials to the Long Island Class I championship game each season, and capped his brilliant career with a stellar performance. Take a bow, A.J.
The 6-1, 195-pound senior ran for two touchdowns and threw for two as Floyd beat Farmingdale, 31-14, Thursday night in the Long Island Class I championship game at Hofstra.
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"He's a special guy, a game-changer," Dalers coach Buddy Krumenacker said.
That was the case after Farmingdale (10-2) grabbed a 7-0 lead with a time-consuming drive in the first quarter. Otranto ran the show with skill, and the Colonials answered with a long drive.
Otranto opened the second quarter with a 13-yard dart to Jawan Jenkins on a skinny post. Otranto capped a nine-play, 88-yard drive with a gorgeous 49-yard toss to Vantrell Nash to give Floyd (10-2) a 14-7 halftime lead it never relinquished.
Coach Paul Longo has led Floyd to back-to-back Long Island crowns, five overall, and nine LIC games since 2001.
"When we lost Stacey Bedell , a lot of people questioned whether we could repeat," Longo said. "But we went on the back of A.J. Otranto this year. He's a tremendous player and a tremendous leader. He can run the ball and he can pass the ball. He comes up big in big games, and he did it again tonight."
Otranto was strongly motivated to come up with a stirring performance.
"I could feel it in my heart. I knew we'd play up to our level," he said. "There was no way I was going to lose my last game as a senior."
Otranto (11 carries for 128 yards and 6-for-10 passing for 84 yards) used his legs to break the game open, and he got help from some inopportune Farmingdale turnovers. The Dalers lost three fumbles and had two interceptions.
Early in the third quarter, Curtis Jenkins fumbled a pitch from replacement quarterback Vinny Quinn -- starter Joe Valente suffered a first-half leg injury but did return later -- and Brian Iannone recovered at the Dalers' 26.
Three plays later, Otranto sprinted up the middle on a quarterback draw to score from the 12. Chris Hurtado's PAT made it 21-7.
On the ensuing kickoff, Tom Kennedy fumbled after a jarring hit by Iannone and Billy Kaastra recovered at the Farmingdale 31. On fourth-and-15 from the 32, Otranto scooted up the middle for 21 yards. The play worked so well that the Colonials called it again, and Otranto ran 11 yards for a 28-7 lead with 5:38 left in the third.
Jenkins (113 yards on 17 carries) led the way on the ground, sometimes out of the Wildcat as Farmingdale improvised until Valente returned. Jenkins scored on a 6-yard burst to make it 28-14 with most of the fourth quarter still to play.
But Farmingdale turned the ball over twice more, on a fumble and an interception, ending any chances for a comeback.
Chris Faison had 87 yards on 15 carries as Floyd ran for 253 yards. Linebacker Miguel Brennin made 51/2 tackles for Floyd. Kevin Petit-Frere led the Dalers' defense with 91/2 tackles.
In a fitting final act, Otranto ran 59 yards to the Farmingdale 12 in the final minute, then took a knee twice to end the game and his career. Take a bow, A.J. It's time for a curtain call.
Notes & quotes: Floyd tackle Evan McCarthy suffered a leg injury on Otranto's first third-quarter TD run. McCarthy was carted off the field after an air cast was applied.