Buddy Krumenacker is unyielding. He believes what he believes and his code doesn’t bend. Not for championship games or star athletes.
The Krumenacker code was put to the test Friday.
The longtime Farmingdale High School football coach had to discipline his star running back and Krumenacker didn’t hesitate. Championship be damned, no one person is above the program. No one game is more important than his 31-year body of work.
So 1,000-yard rusher Curtis Jenkins remained sidelined for reportedly missing practice one day and not letting anyone know. Meanwhile Farmingdale played Daler football: Smash mouth between-the-tackles running and fly-to-the-ball defense.
“It’s a very valuable lesson for the young man to learn,” said Don Snyder, who retired as Dalers coach in 1992 after 40 seasons and 237 wins.
The formula of accountability and fundamentals carried the day. Top-seeded Farmingdale earned its first Nassau Conference I football title since 2007 with a 21-9 win over No. 3 Baldwin Friday before a crowd of 3,000 at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
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The Dalers (10-1) will face Suffolk champ Floyd for the Long Island Class I crown Friday 3 p.m. at Hofstra.
Related: Game Photos l Long Island Championship Preview
Farmingdale senior running back Kevin Petit-Frere saw his workload double, but his broad shoulders and relentless style proved too much for the Baldwin defense. Petit-Frere rushed for 167 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns to power the Dalers.
“He can pop it,” said Krumenacker, who rotated Petit-Frere out on defense to keep his legs fresh for the fourth quarter. “He can play.”
And when Petit-Frere broke loose for a 44-yard touchdown run up the middle with 9 minutes left, the game plan and Krumenacker’s code won out. Quarterback Joe Valente’s two-point run put the Dalers up 21-9.
Krumenacker declined to say why Jenkins didn’t play, but added: “It wasn’t a hard decision. Certain things have got to be done a certain way. If it doesn’t get done that way there are consequences.”
Baldwin (8-3) led 9-7 at halftime. Michael Abrahams blocked a Farmingdale punt through the back of the end zone for a first-quarter safety. A Petit-Frere 4-yard run capped an 8-play, 78-yard drive to put the Dalers in front 7-2.
But Baldwin countered with its own determined drive. After forcing a fumble for a 7-yard loss on second-and-goal from the 1, the Dalers defense seemed poised to stop Baldwin. Then Bruins back Jovaun Tomlinson took the pitch and bounced outside for an improbable 8-yard score with 47 seconds left in the half.
This was a Baldwin team that exploded for 314 rushing yards and 67 points against Oceanside in the semifinals. But after running for 75 yards in the first half against Farmingdale, the Bruins were held to 26 in the final 24 minutes.
“That was the key to the game,” Dalers senior defensive tackle Mike Sinatro said. “We shut them down defensively. Defense wins championships.”
Linebacker Ryan Feiner led the Dalers defense with 8 ½ tackles while Sinatro finished with 4 ½ stops.
Farmingdale took the lead for good on its first possession of the third quarter. Sophomore Michael Outing took the handoff and jetted up the middle for a 2-yard score on third down to give the Dalers a 13-9 edge with 7:26 left in the third.
Minutes later, the Dalers offensive line sprung Petit-Frere for the final touchdown.
“I’m not a fast guy, I’m more of a power back,” Petit-Frere admitted. “But when the guards open the hole for me, I’m out.”
Farmingdale won its 15th county championship since the playoffs began in 1970. Krumenacker, who spent a decade at Hempstead before taking over for Synder at his alma mater, won his 210th game (fourth in Nassau history) and 11th Nassau title.
One year after going 3-5 and missing the playoffs, Farmingdale strung together a memorable title run. And Buddy did it his way.
“I think the kids know the history of the program, and a season like that is an unusual season,” Krumenacker said of 2011. “We missed by inches of being in the Long Island final [in 2010]. The expectations of these kids – they win in the junior high, they win in JV – is to win.”
Win, but not at all costs.
“[Buddy] feels football is important,” said Snyder, who is still a force in the coaches association. “But this is one of the lessons you learn: Being part of the team.”
Consider it a lesson learned.
Nassau Conference I ChampionshipTeams 1 2 3 4 F Baldwin 2 7 0 0 9 Farmingdale 0 7 6 8 21
B – Safety (blocked punt)
F – Petit-Frere 4 run (Kolodny kick)
B – Tomlinson 8 run (Myles kick)
F – Outing 2 run (kick failed)
F – Petit-Frere 44 run (Valente run)