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Bobby Norton's recoveries spark Farmingdale to Nassau 1 title

Farmingdale celebrates it 34-23 win over Oceanside in

Farmingdale celebrates it 34-23 win over Oceanside in the Nassau Conference I final at Hofstra on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. Photo Credit: James Escher

Bobby Norton opened and closed for the Farmingdale football team Saturday night.

Norton recovered a fumble on Oceanside's opening drive to set up the Dalers' first touchdown and recovered a short kickoff at the Sailors' 38 with 2:36 remaining to seal Farmingdale's 34-23 win in the Nassau I championship game before 6,000 fans at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.

Farmingdale (11-0) won the battle of the unbeatens and moved into the Long Island Class I title game for the ninth time since the inception of the Long Island Championships in 1992. The Dalers will meet the winner of Sunday's Longwood-Lindenhurst game.

"We're going to the LIC," said Norton, who helped the Dalers win the turnover battle 3-0. "I was in the right place at the right time. It felt good to get that first fumble. The second one finished them."

The Dalers capitalized on Norton's first fumble recovery at the Sailors' 37, scoring on a 15-yard burst by junior Jordan McLune (three touchdowns, 121 yards on 31 carries). Briant DeFelice added the extra-point kick for a 7-0 lead.

Oceanside (10-1) answered immediately. The Sailors drove 78 yards in 10 plays but had to settle for Francisco Ancona's 22-yard field goal after the Dalers' defense stiffened inside the red zone.

Farmingdale junior quarterback Anthony Burriesci, who took over in the final week of the regular season after starter Tommy Donovan suffered an ACL injury, led an 11-play drive that consumed 6:26 before DeFelice nailed a 30-yard field goal for a 10-3 lead.

"[Burriesci's] come in and done a great job," Donovan said. "He always practiced like he was one play away from getting in there. He just keeps improving and leading us."

Oceanside quarterback Vinny Guarino, who passed for 215 yards and rushed for 108, mixed the run and pass on a 13-play, 71-yard drive and scored on a 2-yard run to tie it at 10-10 with 17 seconds left in the half.

"We had a very good team this season," Oceanside coach Rob Blount said. "I'm proud of these guys. We were right there with them every step."

Guarino's athleticism kept Oceanside in it, but it was Burriesci who turned in the play of the game as time expired in the half.

With the score tied at 10, McLune returned the kickoff to the Sailors' 49 and Burriesci scrambled for 10 yards to the 39 with one second remaining. As time expired, he rolled to his right to avoid the pressure and launched a pass for Steve Kunz, who made a leaping catch in the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown catch.

The play left Oceanside stunned and sent Farmingdale into the locker room with a 17-10 lead. It was Kunz' first touchdown of the season.

"I saw him downfield and I just let it go," Burriesci said. "I knew he'd come down with the catch."

Farmingdale took control of this one on the first drive of the second half. The Dalers moved 61 yards in 13 plays and McLune punched it in for a 2-yard touchdown and a 24-10 lead with 5:17 left in the third quarter.

The drive was highlighted by a fourth-and-2 run at the Sailors' 34. McLune followed a big block and gained just enough for the first down. He finished the march with 44 yards on 10 carries.

"I just follow those big offensive linemen," McLune said. "They're the reason why we win."

Farmingdale forced a turnover on Oceanside's next possession as defensive back Hakeem Cesar came hard on Guarino's pass into the flat and defected the ball away from the intended receiver toward teammate Christian Hernandez, who made the interception and returned the ball to the Dalers' 14 to set up another touchdown.

Three plays later, McLune scored from a yard out to give the Dalers a 31-10 lead.

"We're not done," Norton said. "We have to win one more."

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