High school football semifinal previews
The playoff grind in high school football continues Thursday night at Hofstra University, the venue that will be the site of all eight of Nassau's semifinal games this weekend.
The opener at Shuart Stadium will pit top-seeded Roosevelt against No. 5 Valley Stream North at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Roosevelt halfback Johnnie Akins has scored a conference-high 23 touchdowns and rushed for a Long Island leading 2,101 yards. The Rough Riders are the two-time defending Nassau IV champions and one of only three teams currently 9-0 in Nassau.
The game is a rematch of last year's conference final, won by the Rough Riders, 26-21. The two also met in the season opener, in which Roosevelt beat Valley Stream North (6-3) by a score of 35-6.
(2) Seaford (7-2) vs. (3) West Hempstead (7-2), Thursday night, 7:30 p.m.: It's the age-old story: Can a good defense (Seaford, allowing 8.3 points per game) stop a good offense (West Hempstead, scoring 34.7 points per game)? Enrique McFarlane (1,140 yards, 16 TDs) leads West Hempstead. James O'Hagan anchors Seaford's defense.
(1) Carey (9-0) vs. (5) MacArthur (5-4), Friday, 4 p.m.: The Seahawks have been a juggernaut all season, scoring 41 ppg behind QB Ray Catapano (1,792 yards, 29 TDs). Tom McAndrew rushed for 319 yards and 3 TDs in the Generals' victory over Long Beach.
(2) Garden City (8-1) vs. (3) Wantagh (7-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m.: Garden City wiped out a two touchdown deficit behind quarterback Brett Stewart and came back to beat Mepham, 33-30. The Trojans have beaten Wantagh in 16 straight games since 1975. Can Wantagh find the answer to win?
(3) East Islip (7-2) at (2) Smithtown West (8-1), Friday, 6 p.m.: Smithtown West quarterback Matt Heldberg threw for five touchdowns last week and has an arsenal of athletes in Andrew LaPreziosa, Christian Zawadzki, Ryan Keenan, Kyle Mathie and Logan Greco. East Islip counters with the second-highest scoring offense in the division.
(4) Shoreham-Wading River (7-2) at (1) Babylon (9-0), Friday, 6 p.m.: Tyler Anderson (1,689 yards rushing, 24 touchdowns) of SWR will find it tough going against Babylon, which has won a L.I.-best 21 straight games. The Panthers average 44 ppg while allowing just 8.7. The do-it-all Jake Carlock has scored on offense, defense and special teams.
(3) Glenn (7-2) at (2) Mount Sinai (7-2), Friday, 6 p.m.: Mt. Sinai eliminated Glenn in the playoffs last year and beat the Knights in Week 2 this season, 32-14. These teams have developed a great rivalry and Glenn has won four in a row after a 3-2 start.
(1) Plainedge (8-1) vs. (6) Floral Park (6-3), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Nick Frenger is Plainedge's all-time leading passer and leads the Red Devils against upstart Floral Park, who pulled off the upset win over Lynbrook last week. Plainedge is looking to get back to the LIC -- where they lost in their lone appearance to Huntington, 27-13, in 2005.
(2) Lawrence (8-1) vs. (5) Glen Cove (5-4), Saturday, 10 a.m.: Record-setting QB Joe Capobianco (2,162 yards, 26 TDs) and wide receiver-turned-running back Jordan Fredericks lead the explosive Golden Tornadoes' offense. Glen Cove has allowed more points than it has scored.
(1) Farmingdale (9-0) vs. (4) Syosset (6-3), Saturday, 5 p.m.: The powerful Dalers score 42 ppg and surrender just 8.3, with RB/LB Curtis Jenkins a star on both sides of the ball. Syosset got a boost by the return of quarterback Hunter Gross two weeks ago.
(2) Oceanside (8-1) vs. (3) Massapequa (7-2), Saturday, 8:30 p.m.: This late start could be the game of the week. The Sailors edged Massapequa 16-13 in the first meeting. Chiefs quarterback Matt Caracappa never got untracked against the Sailors' defense. He needs to get halfbacks Nick Capuana and Jack Korber in space to score.
(4) Floyd (7-2) at (1) Commack (9-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.: The top-seeded Cougars have not played Floyd, the two-time defending L.I. Class I champion. The Colonials will not go quietly with dynamic halfback Chris Faison. Commack's defense is the top unit in Suffolk I and led by Josh Valentin and Jesse Klimetis. Excellent defensive backs Matt Recek and Augie Contressa will be needed in run support.
(3) Sachem North (7-2) at (2) Connetquot (8-1), Saturday, 1 p.m.: Sachem North ran roughshod over Connetquot's defense in a 56-40 shootout win in the regular season. The Flaming Arrows are exceptional with a halfback trio of Malik Pierre (1,165 yards rushing), Anthony Ross, Kevin Bragaglia and quarterback Anthony Service. Connetquot can be multidimensional with wide receiver Tyler Nason and halfback Marcus Gutierrez, who has 1,676 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns.
(5) Newfield (6-3) at (1) Riverhead (8-1), Saturday, 1 p.m.: Blue Waves halfback Jeremiah Cheatom has rumbled for 1,474 yards and 15 touchdowns. Newfield starts 14 underclassmen but the key to the Wolverines is quarterback/safety Dylan Harned.
(7) Sayville (5-4) at (1) Miller Place (9-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.: Long Island's touchdown twins will be featured in this rematch of Week 2, won by Miller Place, 25-18. The Golden Flashes' Matt Selts has 28 TDs, including four last week in an upset of No. 2 Islip. The Panthers' Brett Osman has 25 touchdowns and is No. 2 in rushing on Long Island with 1,875 yards.
(6) Bellport (5-4) at (2) Huntington (6-3), Saturday, 1 p.m.: Huntington is looking to get back to the division final for the first time since 2006. The Blue Devils rely on the big arm of Ben Kocis. Bellport goes with halfback Jabari M'Bhaso, who has 17 touchdowns. All four Bellport losses were by less than 10 points.
(4) Stepinac (7-3) at (1) St. Anthony's (9-1), Saturday, 2 p.m.: St. Anthony's is poised to reach the Class AAA championship game for the 15th straight year. The Friars beat Stepinac, 31-14, in Week 3 behind the running of halfback Jordan Gowins, who had touchdown runs of 1 and 94 yards.
(6) Holy Cross (7-3) at (2) Chaminade (9-1), Saturday, 1 p.m.: Chaminade, the defending CHSFL Class AAA champion, survived in a 3-0 win over Holy Cross. The Flyers meet the Cross in a Class AAA semifinal at home and shifty quarterback Sean Cerrone needs to find the end zone in this one.
(3) Holy Trinity (5-5) vs. (2) Cardinal Hayes (8-2), Heritage Park, Bronx, Saturday, 3 p.m.: These teams meet in the Class AA semifinals.
(3) Xaverian (4-6) at (1) St. John the Baptist (5-5), Saturday, Noon: This is a Class A final.