For a couple of hours after the coin toss this afternoon, it'll be about football.
Nearly two weeks after the devastation of superstorm Sandy destroyed or damaged the homes of the majority of the Long Beach football team, the fifth-seeded Marines travel to rival No. 4 Carey in the unlikely Nassau II quarterfinal game.
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Long Beach, which lost its field, equipment and uniforms and for days could not track down some of its players, returns nearly full-strength, led by bruising running back J.T. Forkin, speedster Chris Parler and quarterback Adam Salvadori. Lineman Tariq Cole is also expected to make it to the early game time. Because of a disaster-imposed Long Beach curfew, the game has been moved to noon.
The Sachem East-Northport game has also been moved, to 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Marines retained their ability to play after a slew of donations provided them with new equipment, and after coaches and district administrators deemed it would be in the players' best interests. Long Beach was planning to cancel its playoffs as late as Tuesday, before more than 30 players agreed to keep the season alive. It'll be an emotionally charged game for a team that has said repeatedly that it is playing for a damaged and stricken community.
Carey, meanwhile, hopes to defeat the team that beat them, 42-20, Sept. 15. That result, though, came before the Marines went on their three-game end-of-season swoon. Long Beach is 5-3; Carey is 6-2.
The Seahawks' Ray Catapano has been hard to stop this year after taking over the QB reins in the second game of the season. He has 1,175 yards passing, including a 340-yard game against New Hyde Park. Matt Robison (493 yards, six TDs) has been his favorite target.
Changes: Saturday's scheduled Suffolk I game between No. 6 Sachem East and host No. 3 Northport has been moved to 1 p.m. Sunday because school closures in the Northport district this week prevented the team from having sufficient practice time.
There were three site changes for Saturday: In Suffolk, the game between No. 4 Floyd and No. 5 Commack has been moved to Floyd's old high school field behind Woodhull Elementary School. Game time remains 1 p.m. In Nassau, No. 4 East Meadow vs. No. 5 Massapequa has been moved from East Meadow to Roslyn, and No. 3 Baldwin vs. No. 6 Uniondale has been moved to Freeport. Both games are at 1:30 p.m.--With Bob Herzog