The Long Beach football team is in a critical stretch of its schedule that will determine the postseason seeds in Nassau II. The Marines dropped a 20-18 heartbreaker at home in a battle of unbeatens against Garden City last week. If there is anything good about any loss, it is what the losing team takes away from the experience.

The Marines hung with the defending champions and had a chance to tie the score when a two-point conversion try was stopped with six seconds left in the game. They can draw from a gritty performance as coach Scott Martin continues to build a successful program. The Marines will travel to once-beaten MacArthur Friday night for the MSG Varsity Friday Night Football game of the week, which will air live at 7 p.m. on Cablevision's Channel 14 at 7 p.m.

It should become a ground war for Long Beach (5-1) and MacArthur (5-1) as inclement weather is expected which could dull the efficiency in the passing game. The Marines will rely on halfback James Forkin and MacArthur runs behind halfback Tom Kelleher, who had 276 yards rushing last week.

 

Bay Shore at Sachem East, Friday night, 7 p.m.: The question hovers over the entire Suffolk Division I -- will Sachem East halfback Steven Casali return from last week's concussion suffered against Connetquot? Casali's presence makes Sachem East (3-3) an entirely different team. His absence leaves a huge void on both sides of the ball. Bay Shore (2-4) can score points with anyone but can they stop anyone?

 

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Shoreham-Wading River at Babylon, Friday night, 6 p.m.: Babylon hosts a Shoreham-Wading River team (5-1) that boasts a ground attack led by halfback Tyler Anderson. The Panthers (6-0) have a solid defense, but they win because of playmakers like Eric Schweitzer and Jake Carlock.

 

Massapequa at East Meadow, Saturday, 2 p.m.: The Jets and halfback Billy Andrle romped past previously undefeated Farmingdale, 48-38, last week. This is another tough game for a Jets defense that needs to prove it can stop a strong offense.

 

Plainedge at Lawrence, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Freshman quarterback Davien Kuinlan led the Red Devils (6-0) in a 21-0 win over Floral Park to earn player of the week honors. He replaced All-County QB Nick Frenger, out with a knee injury. Frenger's return could coincide with the showdown of unbeatens as the Red Devils travel to play at Lawrence (6-0). Junior quarterback Joe Capobianco has been unstoppable with a Long-Island leading 18 touchdown passes this season. The Lawrence offense averages almost 50 points per game.

 

East Islip at Smithtown East, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Smithtown East (5-1) is the surprise of Suffolk II and looking to make a big statement in this game with halfback Jake Koppelman. East Islip (5-1) was dumped by Smithtown West (3-3) in the upset loss of Week 6.