Sparkling contributions from special teams can have an uncanny way of getting a football team’s mojo going.
Like the blocked punt by Farmingdale’s Timothy Hegerty on Friday night.
“That really set the tone early on,” Hegerty said. “That was big.”
Farmingdale never looked back following Hegerty’s block for the first-place Dalers (2-0) in a dominant 35-12 Nassau I victory over Hempstead at home.
The emphatic Farmingdale statement was made at the outset. After a Hempstead three-and-out on the opening possession, Hegerty swatted the punt deep in Hempstead territory to set the Dalers up at the Tigers’ 3-yard line.
Kevin Wilson raced to the end zone on a 2-yard carry off left tackle two plays later to open the scoring for Farmingdale at 7-0 at the 9:47 mark.
“Special teams was outstanding,” coach Buddy Krumenacker said. “Any time there’s a blocked punt in a football game it’s a tremendous momentum-changer.”
As the Dalers threatened to take a two-score lead later in the quarter, Hempstead responded with an interception return nearly the length of the field by Amara Koroma down to the Farmingdale 1-yard line with 1:10 remaining.
Tylique Walker followed up the take-away with a touchdown carry to bring Hempstead within one.
The Tigers failed on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, however, and the Dalers maintained a slim lead at 7-6.
Farmingdale took advantage of a key Hempstead miscue late in the first half. The Tigers’ snap on a would-be punt flew high and the Dalers took over at the Hempstead 2-yard line. Quarterback Kevin McCormick promptly pounded the ball in on a designed first-and-goal draw to give Farmingdale a 14-6 advantage entering halftime.
McCormick rushed for a 3-yard touchdown to begin the second half and extend the Farmingdale lead to 15. He completed 5 of 10 passes for 39 yards and one interception, and rushed 13 times for 27 yards and two touchdowns.
“This was a great win,” McCormick said. “We played our heart out in the second half.”
The Dalers recovered a fumble just moments later, and Wilson galloped 20 yards for a score with 8:10 left in the third quarter to make it 28-6. He finished with 95 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
With the exception of a Dashawn Meadors touchdown burst up the middle with 3:50 to go in the third, Farmingdale consistently imposed its will on the defensive side of the ball and prevented Hempstead from crossing the 50-yard line for the majority of the night. Meadors’ score cut the Hempstead deficit to 28-12.
But it was the blocked punt by Hegerty in the early moments that gave Farmingdale the spark it needed.
“We had it planned out in practice all week and we executed it perfectly,” Hegerty said.