Farmingdale players celebrate winning the Long Island Class A boys lacrosse...

Farmingdale players celebrate winning the Long Island Class A boys lacrosse final on Wednesday May 29, 2024. Credit: Bob Sorensen

Jimmy Caputo has always shown the ability to defend the cage for Farmingdale. He’s also shown the talent to defend something else; the Dalers’ Class A Long Island boys lacrosse title.

The senior made nine saves and earned game MVP honors in Farmingdale’s 11-6 win over Half Hollow Hills Wednesday afternoon at East Islip Middle School. Seven of Caputo’s saves came in the second half as the Dalers won its ninth straight and held Hills to its second-worst offensive output of the season.

Farmingdale (15-5) will head up to Middletown for the semi-regional round against Section IX’s Monroe-Woodbury Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in search of the program’s second state title and first since 2011.

Caputo and fellow senior Caden Lennon were all smiles and jokes after the game, but both admitted to having concerns about the team at the start of the season, which graduated 18 seniors and lost its first game, 12-2, to Garden City.

“We had a lot of doubts that we overcame,” Lennon said. “Props to Coach [Eric] Dunne, for sure.”

“This kid, Caden Lennon, he just flipped it on,” Caputo said. “It’s crazy to see how much this kid progressed, going from missing the cage a lot to scoring almost every game.”

“What are we doing?” Lennon asked incredulously before the senior duo exchanged a heartwarming “I love you” to each other.

That chemistry led Farmingdale to its fourth Long Island title in program history. Caputo also battled through a neck bruise after taking a hard shot from Hills junior star Anthony Raio in the second quarter. He briefly was out before getting his helmet taped and back on.

It was that type of heart and hustle that Farmingdale displayed all game as five different players scored two goals. Defenders Michael Ippolitti and Jaxon Parisi continued to clog passing lanes and check attackers with trademark physical play. Farmingdale held Raio to just one point despite 13 shots, a goal with 1:35 left in the fourth quarter.

“When you have teammates around you that limit the pressure, there is no pressure,” Caputo said. “I’ve got coaches that believed in me and teammates that fight for me every single day.”

Hills fell behind in the first half off of too many unforced errors. The ThunderColts turned the ball over seven times, four of which were self-inflicted. Junior Jake Mangio helped spring Farmingdale’s third goal, finding Ippolitti who absorbed a monster hit before dishing it to junior Dean Knott for the goal. Mangio followed that with a goal of his own just 23 seconds later off a dropped pass from Hills.

But the goal of the game came off the stick of Caden Lennon.

The senior scored a cinematic masterpiece with 10.7 seconds left in the third quarter for the symbolic dagger, sliding inside off a pass from senior Brendan O’Keefe (game-high four points)  and firing a no-look, behind-the-shoulder shot that slammed the back of the cage.

“It was just instinct, to be honest,” Lennon said. “I wasn’t aiming. It just happened.”

Hills ends its season with an 18-2 record. Junior long stick middie Joseph Filardi was terrific, scoring three goals with two caused turnovers while leading a quick transition offense that was often lacking thanks to terrific Dalers’ defense.

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