Farmingdale coach Buddy Krumenacker reiterated it all week — Friday night's game between Farmingdale and MacArthur wasn't the typical 3 vs. 6 conference quarterfinal.
He remembered the season-opener, when his Dalers, the preseason No. 1 seed in Conference I trailed 13-0 and 20-6 before earning a come-from-behind 31-26 win.
Farmingdale nearly suffered a much different fate last night, but managed to sneak into the semifinals with a 24-22 win.
How did they get there? Well, before I get to that, let me clarify one thing. A mistake in the editing process made one of my sentences in the third paragraph of the story incorrect.
Allow me to explain: If No. 2 Oceanside defeats No. 7 Massapequa on Saturday, as expected, the Sailors and Dalers will meet in the semifinals at Hofstra on Thursday. If Massapequa somehow manages to beat Oceanside, Farmingdale will play the winner of No. 4 East Meadow and No. 5 Syosset, while No. 1 Freeport will get Massapequa. Why? Because teams are re-seeded after the quarterfinal round.
Okay, now that that's squared away, let's get to the game, starting from the beginning.
Like Week 1, MacArthur again got off to a fast start. On their first drive, the Generals went 78 yards on 12 plays in 5:26 and scored on Brett Ellers' 2-yard TD run.
Farmingdale answered back on the ensuing drive with Brian Prendergast's 9-yard scoring run on an option play. Setting up the TD were Kevin Wahl's 33-yard run and Prendergast's 16-yard gain on a third-and-3 the play before the touchdown.
Early in the second quarter, not much happened for either side. MacArthur QB Kevin Monahan, who finished 14-for-22 for 175 yards, even had to come out for two plays after taking a brutal hit on a third-and-10 pass, which he completed to Charles Cintron for 12 yards.
But late in the first half, things started to get crazy. Wahl, who finished with 146 yards on 26 carries, scored from 5 yards out to make it 14-7 with 3:21 to play in the second quarter. On the play before the touchdown, Tuttle converted a fourth-and-5 with a 20-yard dart over the middle to Pat Starke (two catches, 31 yards).
MacArthur answered with one of its three successful gadget plays of the night. After two Monahan passes gained 26 yards, Ellers took a pitch right and tossed it to a wide-open Will Cheshire on the halfback option for a 38-yard TD to tie it at 14 with 2:11 to go before the half.
That was just enough time for Tuttle to work his magic. Starke returned the kickoff to his own 48, and then Tuttle went 4-for-7 for 51 yards, including a spectacular 18-yard scoring pass to Rodney Torruella with 13.9 seconds on the clock to make it a 21-14 game. On the TD play, Tuttle rolled right on third-and-10, and, as two MacArthur defenders bore down on him, he fired an off-balance pass across the field to an open Torruella.
Said Tuttle: "We have one of the best two-minute offenses in the county." They showed it late in the game as well.
MacArthur got the ball first in the second half and, on the first play from scrimmage, Tom Joyce (91 yards and a TD on seven carries, and four catches for 97 yards) rumbled 55 yards down to the Farmingdale 11. But the drive stalled on the 9, and Monahan missed a 26-yard field goal wide left to squander a solid scoring opportunity.
If you read the game story, you know what happened from there. MacArthur took the lead via a 57-yard double-pass to Joyce, who ended the drive with a 6-yard TD run, and a fake extra-point pass from Monahan to Ellers to make it 22-21.
Greg Catalano's field goal with 2:13 left made it 24-21, but the Generals, who had only two timeouts, weren't done. On the first play of the ensuing drive, Monahan hit Ellers on a beautifully designed middle screen for a gain of 27 yards down to the Farmingdale 42. Monahan completed three more passes for 17 yards, and Joyce ran for three more before the drive stalled on fourth-and-2 from the 22. Monahan's 39-yarder had plenty of distance but just missed wide left.
Said Wahl of Catalano's kick: "I was thinking, 'just please hit this.' That's the way football is, you have to fight through it."
The Dalers did just that.