After winning four straight county titles and three straight Long Island championships, it's not a matter of improving from year to year for the Lawrence football team. It's about maintaining the status quo.
"We've done that," coach Joe Martillotti said. "Every year, we reload."
Martillotti has bred a culture of winning at Lawrence, a certain swagger that players acquire almost immediately just by virtue of being around the program.
"There's an attitude here," Martillotti said. "Our kids are expected to win championships. Anything short of that is a failure on their part and my part."
But once more, Plainedge will be there to challenge.
After losing to Plainedge in the regular season last year, Lawrence defeated the Red Devils in the Nassau III title game, 49-19. But the wrinkle in this year's matchup is a stronger, more experienced Davien Kuinlan. The Plainedge quarterback threw for 150 yards and two touchdown passes, and rushed for 112 yards and a TD in that loss.
"I don't think we've ever had the best player in the conference, without an argument," Plainedge coach Rob Shaver said. "We've had guys that have been in the conversation, but I think Davien's the best guy in the conference without an argument."
When the two teams face off in Week 6, Martillotti's strategy will be the same as it was for last year's county title game: "If we can stop Kuinlan, we believe we will win."
If the reloaded Lawrence defense can do that, the offense should take care of the rest.
"We really work hard up front," Martillotti said. "We are as good as the offensive line goes, and they are really, really good."
That Week 6 contest between Plainedge and Lawrence is already being billed as a potential preview of the Nassau championship game.
"When they beat us in the county final," Martillotti said, "then they've earned the respect of everyone. Until they do that, I think we're still the top dog. "
1. PLAINEDGE RED DEVILS
2014 record: 9-2
Coach: Rob Shaver, 19th season
Davien Kuinlan, QB/LB, 6-1, 215, Sr.
Corey Hill, RB/LB, 6-2, 230, Jr.
Steve McCartney, OL/DL, 6-3, 230, Sr.
Brian Flynn, WR/DB, 5-10, 170, Sr.
Nick Checcia, WR/DB, 6-2, 185, Sr.
About the Red Devils: Kuinlan's improved ability to throw the ball downfield will be crucial as the Red Devils aim to upend reigning county champ Lawrence. McCartney's presence on the offensive line will help create lanes for Hill and Kuinlan.
2. LAWRENCE GOLDEN TORNADOES
2014 record: 12-0
Coach: Joe Martillotti, sixth season
Victor Mintz, LB/WR, 6-3, 220, Sr.
Marquan Williams, SS/RB, 6-1, 180, Sr.
Cyle Hearst, OT/DE, 6-2, 250, Sr.
Nick Ramirez, C/DT, 6-2, 270, Sr.
Frank Manara, OG/DT, 5-11, 285, Sr.
About the Tornadoes: Three returning linemen in Hearst, Ramirez and Manara will dominate line of scrimmage as Lawrence seeks fourth straight L.I. title. Mintz's size makes him a matchup nightmare.
3. BETHPAGE GOLDEN EAGLES
2014 record: 6-4
Coach: Erwin Dill, sixth season
Michael Carrello, QB, 6-1, 175, Sr.
Anthony Sforza, FB/LB, 6-1, 220, Sr.
Nick Carlino, HB/LB, 6-1, 200, Sr.
Brian Seiter, HB/LB, 5-10, 180, Sr.
Dan McGlynn, OL/DE, 6-0, 215, Sr.
About the Golden Eagles: They will lean upon an experienced backfield that is dynamic, athletic and versatile. Carlino and Sforza are bruisers and difficult to wrap up one-on-one, and Seiter is a speedy, change-of-pace back.
4. ROOSEVELT ROUGH RIDERS
2014 record: 10-2
Coach: Joe Vito, 22nd season
Stephan Vailes, QB, 5-9, 165, Jr.
Elishah Willock, OL/DL, 6-4, 330, Sr.
Quran Simmons, SL/OLB, 5-10, 185, Sr.
Chukwuma Ukwu, OL/DL, 6-1, 260, Sr.
Chaucher McMillan, FB/ILB, 5-10, 195, Jr.
About the Rough Riders: In its first season in Nassau III, Roosevelt gets a boost from senior transfer Jude Innocent, a speedy running back. Vailes threw for 103 yards and two TDs to help Rough Riders win Nassau IV title last year.
5. GLEN COVE KNIGHTS
2014 record: 3-6
Coach: Pete Kopecky, 24th season
Mike Payton, QB, 5-10, 160, Sr.
Tim Hogan, RB/SS, 5-9, 166, Sr.
Corey Dinkins, WR/CB, 6-0, 164, Sr.
Chris Guevara, OL/DL, 5-10, 221, Sr.
Gaetano Famiglietti, OL/MLB, 5-9, 218, Sr.
About the Knights: Depth at running back with seniors Hogan, Sharayad Letellier and Will Beglin. A veteran line led by Guevara, Famiglietti and junior Mike Puetzer will provide room to run.
6. HEWLETT BULLDOGS
2014 record: 6-4
Coach: Jay Iaquinta, 26th season
Mike Curiel, DT/LG, 6-3, 285, Sr.
Terry Micourt, LB/OT, 6-0, 195, Sr.
Wyatt McMahon, TE/DE, 6-3, 230, Jr.
Maui Mawhinney, DE/OT, 6-0, 215, Sr.
Anthony Esposito, DB, 5-10, 165, Sr.
About the Bulldogs: Curiel anchors the line, Newcomers Jordan Carlo (junior RB/LB), Dan Hillsberg (junior WR/DB) and Matt Mannino (sophomore WR/DB) will give the Bulldogs extra weapons on offense.
7. LYNBROOK OWLS
2014 record: 4-5
Coach: Stephen LoCicero, 10th season
Zach LoCicero, QB, 6-0, 185, Sr.
Nick Paris, RB/SS, 5-10, 170, Jr.
Joey Virgonia, WR/DB, 5-7, 150, Sr.
JD Gebbia, DE/TE, 6-1, 190, Sr.
Jeremy Tierney, OL/DL, 5-10, 225, Sr.
About the Owls: On defense, Gebbia's play up front complements a strong backfield led by Virgonia and senior DB Mike Baran. LoCicero (1,222) became the school's first 1,000-yard QB. The Owls have made the playoffs nine consecutive years.
8. VALLEY STREAM NORTH SPARTANS
2014 record: 5-4
Coach: Tom Schiavo, 18th season
Jamil Viaud-Gaspard, OL/DL, 6-4, 240, Sr.
Nick Cali, RB/LB, 5-9, 170, Sr.
Dylan Feliu, WR/LB, 5-6, 140, Sr.
Pat Kearney, WR/DB, 5-7, 150, Sr.
Oneil Anderson, OL/DL, 5-8, 215, Sr.
About the Spartans: With 29 seniors, the Spartans have a surplus of leadership and experience. Cali, Feliu and Kearney will lead the way. Each of those three seniors is a catalyst on either side of the ball.
9. FLORAL PARK KNIGHTS
2014 record: 4-4
Coach: Michael Spina, 21st season
Josh Corbett, QB/FS, 6-1, 195, Sr.
Cole Horan, RB/LB, 5-11, 200, Jr.
Conor Hodgson, WR/DB, 5-10, 160, Sr.
Kyle Hilaire, WR/DB, 5-10, 150, Jr.
Damian Harley, NG/RB, 5-10, 205, Sr.
About the Knights: Corbett leads a young group that includes a new set of starters on the offensive and defensive lines. He ran for 724 rushing yards and six touchdowns, and passed for 459 yards and six touchdowns.
10. DIVISION BLUE DRAGONS
2014 record: 4-5
Coach: Ray Weidlein, 12th season
Chris DeMilia, WR/SS, 6-1, 195, Sr.
Mike Purpura, RB/LB, 5-10, 170, Sr.
Steven Reilly, RB/LB, 6-0, 185, Jr.
J.C. Soriano, LB/FB, 5-10, 190, Sr.
George Hafner, WR, 5-9, 160, Jr.
About the Blue Dragons: DeMilia and Purpura are the most experienced offensive weapons, but the team is buoyed by its sophomore and junior classes. That includes assets like Reilly and Hafner, who also will be major components of the offense.
11. NORTH SHORE VIKINGS
2014 record: 3-5
Coach: Dan Agovino, 14th season
Frank Castiglione, WR/QB/DB, 5-8, 145, Sr.
Luke Salditt, WR/DB, 5-6, 140, Sr.
Antonio Evangelista, RB/LB, 5-6, 200, Sr.
Nicholas Ruggiero, OL/DL, 5-11, 220, Sr.
Josh Mandell, OL/DL, 6-4, 190, Sr.
About the Vikings: Mandell and senior Jack Williams will bring experience to the offensive line. Castiglione, Salditt and junior Ryan Aughavin bring speed, craftiness and high football IQs to the offense, and are prime scoring threats.
12. SOUTH SIDE CYCLONES
2014 record: 3-5
Coach: Phil Onesto, fifth season
Sam Dantona, OL/LB, 5-9, 220, Sr.
Johnny Pickett, RB/DB, 5-10, 165, Jr.
Peter Malizia, QB, 6-0, 165, Sr.
Jose Bisono, WR/DB, 6-1, 180, Sr.
John Murphy, OL/DL, 5-10, 200, Sr.
About the Cyclones: After graduating 22 of 33 players, the Cyclones will look to their sophomore and junior classes to solidify both sides of the ball. Newcomers Tygah Scott (sophomore DE) and Joe LiCalzi (junior WR/DB) will provide a boost.