Farmingdale returned to the Promised Land on Saturday night. It arrived via the speedy legs and considerable talents of senior running back Tomaso Ramos.
Ramos rushed for 392 yards on 34 carries, ran for three touchdowns and had a touchdown reception as Farmingdale pulled away for a convincing 42-20 win over Ward Melville in the Long Island Class I championship game at Stony Brook’s LaValle Stadium.
The Dalers finished a 12-0 season by capturing their second Long Island title and first since 2001. Farmingdale had come up short in its last six appearances in the Long Island Championships.
“This culminates the season: Being a Nassau champion is a great thing, but then you go play this one,” Farmingdale coach Buddy Krumenacker said. “We’ve had a lot of bad times in this [game]. We’ve had a lot of strange things happen to us in these games. It’s neither here nor there — we didn’t win them. We won this one.”
Ramos has been Farmingdale’s featured back all season but was asked to shoulder even more responsibility against the Patriots (8-4). Running back Sal Posillico and key wideout Joe Burriesci were hampered by injuries in the contest, but Ramos was up to the task — and then some.
“We usually like to spread it around, but there was no spreading it around,” Krumenacker said. “There was only one pony left to ride, but it was a pretty good pony.”
Ramos had 13-, 6- and 1-yard touchdown runs and his touchdown reception came on a 33-yard strike from quarterback Anthony Licci.
“I wasn’t expecting to do this at all, but when they call my name, I’ve got to go,” he said.
Ramos’ rushing yards and his two receptions for 45 yards gave him 437 all-purpose yards, a record for the Long Island Championships.
One day after Garden City’s Stevie Finnell set the mark for rushing yards by a Nassau player in an LIC game with 346 in the Trojans’ Class II victory, Ramos eclipsed it. He was 20 short of the record 412 rushing yards by Stacey Bedell of Floyd in 2011.
Ramos has scored more touchdowns in a game, but he thought the final performance of his career has to rank as his best because “I did it on the main stage and we won a championship in my last game.”
Trevor Gayron had a team-best 11 tackles and had a 3-yard touchdown run. Licci was 5-for-9 passing for 82 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for a score. Daniel Canales recovered a fumble that led to a touchdown for Farmingdale.
Running back Nick Gaffney rushed 18 times for 119 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Andrew Belli threw for a touchdown and rushed for another for Ward Melville.
Since stumbling to an upset loss in the final week of the regular season to finish as the fourth seed in Suffolk, Ward Melville had been playing the role of “giant slayer,’’ taking out top- seeded Floyd and No. 3 Longwood en route to the county title and this first trip to the Long Island Championships.
Late in the second quarter, the Patriots threatened to reprise the role against Farmingdale. They answered a Dalers score with a 55-yard drive that included conversions on third-and-2 and fourth-and-7 and ended with an 11-yard touchdown run by Gaffney.
Ramos went 65 yards on the next snap with a sensational reverse-of-field run and scored his 6-yard TD with 57 seconds on the clock for a 28-14 halftime lead.
He employed his shifty style to go 46 yards on the first snap of the second half. Five plays later, he scored on a 1-yard plunge to put Farmingdale on course for the win.
“He’s an animal,” Licci said. “You could tell by the end he was gassed, but he was able to get it done for us.”
The Dalers wanted to get this done for Krumenacker, who has taken 10 teams to the Long Island Championships with just two wins.
“We wanted to get revenge for like all these past years,” Ramos said. “It was like we’ve [been] losing here, we finally got it done for him and that means a lot.”
“To play in the Long Island championship is great, but we’ve stumbled here,” Krumenacker said. “This is our 10th appearance and . . . we’ve only got two wins. But I’d want to be here 10 times and lose eight than not be here. There’s no doubt about that.”