West Islip lost seven games last season. Five of those losses were decided by a touchdown or less. It was a young team that just couldn't close out opponents.
That is not the case this season. The Lions, coming off the school's worst season in more than 50 years, have matured and they're dangerous. They were a preseason seventh seed and they're so much better than forecast.
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"We lost all the close ones, it was tough," West Islip coach Steve Mileti said. "The experience should serve us well this year."
West Islip dumped Riverhead, the second seed, in the opener and buried West Babylon last week to get off to a 2-0 start, to double last year's win total.
West Islip will host Bellport at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Clippers, a proud program that's made the playoffs in eight of the past 10 years, are winless.
Massapequa at Freeport, Friday night, 6:30 p.m.: These teams met Week 3 last season and Freeport (2-0) won a wild shootout, 41-33. One could expect more of the same this season. Massapequa (1-1) is the highest scoring team in Nassau, averaging 47.5 points per game and Freeport averages 38.
Elmont at Carey, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Carey (1-1) had its 25-game win streak halted by Nassau II nemesis Garden City, 38-7. Elmont (2-0) has been terrific with halfback Aston Brown Jr., who has seven touchdowns. Will resurgent Elmont keep the Seahawks reeling?
Oceanside at East Meadow, Saturday, 2 p.m.: The Oceanside defense has been stingy and halfback Brandy Diaz and quarterback Vinny Guarino lead a balanced offense. Diaz scored on runs of 75 and 35 yards and Guarino threw for two scores to stay undefeated. East Meadow (1-1) shut out Hicksville and could make this a defensive battle.
Northport at Ward Melville, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Quarterback Matt O'Hea is no longer the best kept secret on the North Shore. He threw for four touchdowns, including two to wide receiver Ed Muñoz, in last week's win over Brentwood. Northport (2-0) serves as a big test for the Patriots (1-1). The Tigers used three Rob Dosch touchdown runs to beat Sachem North, 29-22.
Harborfields at Eastport-South Manor, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Harborfields quarterback Cody Cunningham rushed for 357 yards and three touchdowns in a season-opening win over Islip. His encore was another brilliant performance in a 27-0 win over Amityville in which he threw for 227 yards and ran for 176. Eastport counters with halfback Nick Garone, who's rushed for 293 yards in two games, as both teams try to remain unbeaten.
Centereach at Smithtown West, Saturday, 3 p.m.: When was the last time the Middle Country School District could boast about having the top two defensive units in Suffolk II? Newfield (2-0) has allowed only 13 points and Centereach (2-0) has given up 20. The Cougars were the preseason 14th seed and have already matched last season's win total. Smithtown West (2-0) offers a stiff test to go 3-0.