It's not as tall as the one in Fenway Park, but Farmingdale's version of the Green Monster is more intimidating for the opposition, as it looms over their bench on gamedays.

The Dalers' football tradition is a proud one, and the Monster (a large green building that houses the PA announcer and scoreboard operator) lists the program's 19 conference championships, seven Rutgers Cups and 2001 Long Island title on its facing.

The last Rutgers Cup came in 2007, but Farmingdale, the top seed in Conference I, believes the award could be coming back to town.

The Dalers, coming off an 8-3 season and a 34-20 loss to Freeport in the county final, are wearing shirts that read EARS, EYES and HEART with the date of the Long Island Championship — 11/25/10 — printed underneath.

"You can't win a game without listening to everything the coaches say, you gotta always see what's going on around you, and you've gotta have heart to win a game, you can't win a game without it," said tight end/linebacker Carl Brescia at Monday morning's unseasonably cold practice to explain the meaning of the t-shirts. "Our eyes are on the prize."

Yet Farmingdale knows the parity of Conference I. Said Brescia, who had five sacks last season: "There are no easy games."

For example, Baldwin is the No. 7 seed one year after advancing to the county semifinals. And Farmingdale kicks its season off with its "easiest" opponent based on seeding — No. 9 MacArthur, which was 5-4 last season and made the playoffs. So the Dalers are taking nothing for granted.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

On Monday, 18-year head coach Buddy Krumenacker split his team into three groups. The first worked on blitzing around the edge and swiping the ball from the blindside of the quarterback, the second practiced picking up fumbles and running them into the end zone, and the last had two defenders trying to strip a ball-carrier.

"Through the years, we tackle here. Listen, this is a football place, we tackle," Krumenacker said. "But you don't strip unless you work on stripping. ...You gotta do it ... get the darn ball back." 

Part of the reason for the hype around Farmingdale this season is its 34-man senior class, which includes returning starters at quarterback (Sal Tuttle) and running back (Kevin Wahl) who star in the team's spread attack. "We'll start with that," Krumenacker said. 

But will they finish with "2010" etched in any of the categories on the Green Monster board? Brescia thinks so.

"We can't go home this year without bringing it in," he said.