Will Sachem East's Steven Casali run roughshod over Longwood?

Sachem East's Steven Casali breaks into the secondary Sachem East's Steven Casali breaks into the secondary on a run during the second half. (Sept. 29, 2012) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

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Two teams in Suffolk I find themselves at a crossroads Friday when they meet in Ridge. Sachem East travels to play Longwood in a pivotal D-I game that carries certain playoff implications in MSG Varsity's Friday Night Football game of the week at 6 p.m.

Both teams are 2-2 at the midway point of the season and are in search of a big win to accumulate critical power points. The game will air at 7 o'clock tonight on tape delay on Cablevision's Channel 14.

"Every game is a big game in this division but this one carries more meaning because we need to get on the winning track," Sachem East coach Mark Wojciechowski said.

Sachem East lost a rugged 21-14 decision to undefeated Sachem North last week in an intradistrict game. The Flaming Arrows need to re-energize the running game with halfback Steven Casali to complement the passing of quarterback Dan Wolff to wide receiver Brian Balsamo.

Longwood, which opened the season with two wins, including a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Bay Shore, has struggled offensively. The Lions were beaten badly in the past two weeks getting shut out by undefeated Connetquot and losing to top-seeded Floyd by a combined, 65-6.

The Lions have shown the resilience to bounce back from adversity. They erased a 27-point deficit in the season opener to edge Bay Shore, 30-27.

 

Smithtown East at Newfield, Saturday, 2 p.m.: The Wolverines had the longest winning streak in school history ended at 10 games against a very good West Islip team in Suffolk II. Smithtown East brings a high scoring offense into the Wolverines' den. Newfield quarterback Brandon Riggi made big throws against West Islip and will need more of the same to beat Smithtown East.

 

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Oceanside at Massapequa, Saturday, 3 p.m.: Oceanside quarterback Tom Capone is on a tear with 732 yards and nine touchdown passes in four games. Oceanside linebacker Vassilli Grigorakos transferred from Massapequa this season and has been an impact player for the Sailors.

 

Carey at Garden City, Saturday, 3 p.m.: Carey beat previously undefeated Wantagh last week and now travels to top-seeded Garden City. Can the Seahawks produce back-to-back wins over the top teams in Nassau II? Garden City has another stingy defense, allowing only 33 points in four games.

 

Seaford at Roosevelt, Saturday, 3 p.m.: One of two games that feature undefeated teams going head-to-head. Roosevelt's Johnnie Akins and Marquell Saunders have been unstoppable but Seaford is all about defense. Vikings halfback Nick Fischetti was the key to last week's win over West Hempstead.

 

Riverhead at East Islip, Saturday, 2 p.m.: The ninth-seeded Redmen are off to a 4-0 start and had a big win over North Babylon behind halfback Andre Deegan last week. Riverhead lost a 16-13 heartbreaker to West Islip for its only loss and quarterback Ryan Bitzer is in sync with his receivers.

 

Miller Place at Kings Park, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Suffolk's only featured matchup of unbeatens happens here in Suffolk IV. Kings Park quarterback Joe Guercio has been equally good on defense, with five interceptions and two fumble recoveries. But it's the Miller Place defense that has yielded just six points that will be hard for the Kingsmen to penetrate.

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