For his first varsity game, Farmingdale junior Anthony Burriesci expected a modest role. Maybe take some snaps as the change-of-pace Wildcat alternative to starting quarterback Tommy Donovan. "I didn't really expect much," Burriesci said.
Turns out he simply went wild.
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Burriesci's running set up a first-half field goal and his running and passing guided an 87-yard game-clinching scoring drive in the fourth quarter as the host Dalers turned back East Meadow, 17-6, in a Nassau I opener Friday night.
"He's just a tough little kid," Farmingdale coach Buddy Krumenacker said of the 5-7, 145-pounder who came off the bench to bolt 42 yards on third-and-1 from his own 46 and carried four times for 57 yards on a drive that culminated with a 25-yard field goal by sophomore Briant DeFelice, also playing his first varsity game. Those were the only points in a first half that was totally dominated by the defensive units.
In fact, that was the case until early in the fourth quarter, when Farmingdale's Tommy McPartland woke up the stadium with an electrifying 65-yard punt return for a touchdown.
"I had some trouble in the first half," said McPartland, who muffed one punt, which the Jets recovered. "But we made an adjustment and after I caught the ball, I just followed my blockers."
On the next play following DeFelice's PAT that made it 10-0, East Meadow had its own special moment on special teams, as Tim Gibson took the kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, finding a seam up the middle and exploding in the open field. The Jets missed the extra point.
Burriesci began the next drive at quarterback because Donovan suffered leg cramps, Krumenacker said. He immediately showed his fearlessness, running twice up the middle before launching a 20-yard completion to McPartland that was the Dalers' first completion of the night.
He ran four more times and completed passes for first downs to McPartland (9 yards) and Charlie Tomassetti (24 yards). Jordan McLune (14 carries, 89 yards) burst 9 yards up the middle for the clinching touchdown.
Burriesci finished with 86 yards on 15 carries and went 3-for-5 passing for an additional 53 yards. Tomassetti led a tough Dalers defense with two sacks. They held East Meadow's flex-bone running attack to a total of 122 yards, only 37 in the first half.
"The punt return fired us up," Burriesci said. "After that, the team had my back. Everything just happened."