Joe Valente never started a football game. Not on the junior varsity. Not last year when he backed up quarterback Dalique Mingo.
But when Mingo, a budding basketball star, decided not to play this fall, Valente seized the opportunity and the job. All the senior did Saturday was direct the offense to five scoring drives in three quarters and an impressive 44-0 road win over No. 10 .
“First start of my life,” said Valente, who put the sixth-seeded Dalers up 14-0 to open the second quarter with a hard-fought 1-yard keeper on fourth down.
“Joe’s a very good leader,” Farmingdale Coach Buddy Krumenacker said. “He knows the plan.”
The plan was brutally simple. Krumenacker teams are built for November. They run right at you, dare you to stop them all the while eating clock and real estate.
It’s a formula that plays well in Farmingdale and fits with black-and-blue Nassau Conference I. So it was no surprise that the Dalers ran the ball on 21 of 22 plays to open the game, culminating in a 21-0 lead.
“We had short fields the whole first quarter and scored touchdowns our first three drives,” Valente said. “Our line got their blocks down and then I just had to hand the ball off to the running backs.”
Why did running the ball matter on opening day? A stiff 20 mph wind blowing from the south played havoc with the passing and kicking game.
“That flag looks like it's made out of wood. It’s a pretty stiff wind,” Krumenacker said.
The Dalers kicked off with the wind at their back and held Syosset to just five yards on the opening possession. A short punt gave the Dalers the ball at the Syosset 49-yard-line. Kevin Petit-Frere scored on a 5-yard run nine plays later.
Petit-Frere's sack at defensive end stalled Syosset’s next drive. And when the ensuing punt got hung up in the wind, the Dalers were in business at the Braves’ 27. This time Valente scored as the Dalers took control.
“These are the things that happen in November,” said . “You have to turn the field short. This is high school football. If you have to go 80 yards time and again, you are going to struggle. You need to play on short fields.”
The wind gave it to the Dalers and hard-running types like Petit-Frere capitalized. He scored touchdowns on runs of 5, 8 and 1 yards to power the offense.
Curtis Jenkins had 96 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and sophomore Michael Outing came on late and added 104 yards, highlighted by a 90-yard touchdown run.
“We’re making a point that we’re going to be good this year,” Petit-Frere said. “We should be seeded higher. We’re a team to look out for this year.”
What failed Krumenacker and Co. during a 3-5 campaign a year ago was as much the defense as anything. The Daler defense surrendered 218 points, including 40-point games three times.
Petit-Frere had Syosset seeing green Saturday. It was the first Farmingdale shutout since blanking Hempstead, 24-0, Week 3 of 2009.
Is this the start of a Farmingdale revival? The If this team is indeed built for November, then September wins need to be about more than wind and bluster.
Nassau Conference I FootballTeams 1 2 3 4 Final Farmingdale 7 14 16 7 44 Syosset 0 0 0 0 0
F – Petit-Frere 5 run (Kolodny kick)
F – Valente 1 run (Kolodny kick)
F – Petit-Frere 8 run (Kolodny kick)
F – Jenkins 38 run (Kolodny kick)
F – Safety (ball snapped back of end zone)
F – Petit-Frere 1 run (Kolodny kick)
F – Outing 90 run (Kolodny kick)