The Sachem North football team has been saddled with injuries all season. Key components to an explosive offensive unit in halfbacks Anthony Ross, Trent Crossan and Tyler Andreassi suffered season-ending injuries.
One would think that would spell the end to the championship dreams of most teams. But not Sachem North. The offensive line, led by tackle Nick DiRosse and center Steven Mills, has steadied the ship and given the Flaming Arrows a foundation to build around.
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Bay Shore will travel to Sachem North for Friday night's MSG Varsity Friday Night Football when the teams meet in the quarterfinal round of the Suffolk I football playoffs in Lake Ronkonkoma. The game will be broadcast live on Cablevision's Channel 14 at 7 p.m.
"Our line was outstanding in the season finale against Connetquot and we need that kind of performance again," Sachem North coach Dave Falco said. "The postseason offers a new challenge."
No. 2 Sachem North (6-2) heads into the playoffs with a newfound confidence and looking to build on its 49-28 smashing of previously unbeaten Connetquot (7-1). The Flaming Arrows haven't lost at home in three years and the return of halfback Kevin Bragaglia and the emergence of halfback Malik Pierre is an instant pick me up for the offense. Pierre went off for 356 all-purpose yards in the finale.
No. 7 Bay Shore pushed Sachem North into overtime before succumbing, 63-62, earlier this year. Crossan, scored 52 points, and set a school record with eight rushing touchdowns and two two-point conversion runs in the win.
The Marauders (4-4) also have an explosive offense led by halfback Matthias Eato, who has 23 touchdowns.
Massapequa at East Meadow, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Massapequa quarterback Paul Bentz will play without playmaker Jack Korber, who suffered a broken wrist in last week's loss to Farmingdale. The Chiefs will need to find a way to stop East Meadow halfback Billy Andrle.
Sachem East at Northport, Saturday, 1 p.m.: The return of super halfback Steve Casali makes this one very interesting. He ran all over Northport in the first meeting won by Sachem East, 41-26. Northport is not the best kept secret on Long Island anymore -- not after convincing wins over Sachem North and Floyd. The Tigers are definitely in the mix behind quarterback Sean Gilroy for the Suffolk I title.
North Babylon at Smithtown East, Saturday, 1 p.m.: North Babylon quarterback Jack Conner threw for two scores and ran for two in a resounding win over Newfield last week, knocking the Wolverines from the postseason. Bulls sophomore quarterback John Daniggelis will mix the run and pass to keep pace with the Bulldogs. This game will be won up front on the lines.
Glenn at Mount Sinai, Saturday, 1 p.m.: Seventh-seeded Glenn, the two-time defending L.I. Class IV champions, were in a rebuilding mode all season and could be dangerous in the postseason. No. 2 Mount Sinai survived last week against Hampton Bays, 13-7, and will be tested in this one.
Hewlett at Glen Cove, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Second-seeded Glen Cove was a ninth seed coming into the season and a 20-19 win over Hewlett made believers out of many. Hewlett quarterback Zach Richman ran for three scores and passed for two last week. He'll need to be on his game if the seventh-seeded Bulldogs are to upset Glen Cove.