Two top senior quarterbacks who suffered serious injuries last season return to action Thursday and oppose each other in a key Suffolk II matchup that highlights the first full slate of games for the 2013 season.
Sam Ilario (torn ankle ligaments and tendons) was hurt in West Islip's first-round playoff loss, while Matt Heldberg tore his ACL in Smithtown West's 2012 opener.
All public schools games for Week 1 are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday because of the Jewish holidays.
Sam Ilario is just five rushing touchdowns away from Pat Wallace's school-record 27, but his priority is a championship, especially after last year's first-round loss to West Babylon when West Islip was the No. 1 seed. West's Matt Heldberg will look for Kyle Mathie who is also a ball hawk in the secondary.
Sachem North at Sachem East, Wednesday, 6 p.m.:There's another Comeback Kid -- North quarterback Trent Crossan, who missed much of last season with a torn hamstring. He's got plenty of veteran company in the backfield in Malik Pierre, Kevin Bragaglia and Anthony Ross. East begins the post-Steven Casali Era with an offense that revolves around quarterback Danny Wolff.
Islip at Miller Place, Wednesday, 4 p.m.: Miller Place, the preseason No. 1 seed for the first time, has a tough opener in No. 7 Islip, which got a boost when 305-pound two-way lineman Cobi Rose transferred in from St. Anthony's. Running back Brett Osman leads the Panthers, who have three huge linemen of their own.
Massapequa at Freeport, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.: Top-seeded Massapequa has a big-time offense led by wide receivers Nick Balzano and Craig Berge and running back Jack Korber. The Chiefs will have to contend with Freeport's spread and its quarterback, Davelle Hooks.
Long Beach at MacArthur, Thursday, 7 p.m.: These two playoff contenders lack flashy skill players but can dominate games in the trenches. Long Beach's offensive line is led by 360-pound Tariq Cole. MacArthur features 305-pound Kevin Carboy.
Iona Prep at Chaminade, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Pretty tough opener for defending league champion Chaminade, which hosts the league's No. 2 seed. The Flyers' offense, led by quarterback Sean Cerrone and running back Rob Speranza, was impressive in a season-opening 47-20 non-league victory over Kellenberg. The Gaels lost their non-league opener to powerful Newburgh Free Academy, 46-21.