Northport will now be without quarterback Owen Johansen after he...

Northport will now be without quarterback Owen Johansen after he suffered a broken right ankle, but he believes the Tigers will persevere. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Suffolk Division II has dusted off the nickname “the black and blue division” this football season.

There are seven teams with either one or two losses heading into this weekend’s competition — Bellport and Lindenhurst lead at 5-1 — and any of eight or nine schools could win the county title and no one would be surprised. The competition has been so close and at such a high level — so far.

Northport (4-2), which already has a 19-0 win over Lindenhurst, suffered what could be a setback last week when Owen Johansen, the senior quarterback and free safety, suffered a broken right ankle in the first quarter of a 21-7 loss to Bellport. He will be in a cast for six weeks and said Thursday “I’d like to be back for snowboarding season.”

The impact on the Tigers, who host West Islip (4-2) Saturday, remains to be seen. Johansen predicted “we’re going to come back strong because of how much we believe in each other — we’re stil a contender.”

“Northport has unbelievable tradition and could be inspired,” West Islip coach Steve Mileti said. “(Johansen) is a great kid and leader. Those players could raise their game for him.”

Tigers coach Pat Campbell said senior Mack O’Brien has taken over at quarterback and seniors Christian Rao and Tim Cleary will see time at free safety. O’Brien had a 14-yard touchdown run and kept Northport in the game after the Johansen injury last Saturday.

“We’re all devastated for him by this injury but we are very capable of absorbing it,” Campbell said. “We may not have big stars, but we have high level kids. Mack is one and he can lead.”

“(O’Brien) played well,” Bellport coach Jamie Fabian said. “There are so many good teams in our division and Northport is never going to be out of a game because its defense is so good.”

Lindenhurst coach Nick Lomabardo said “every year there are players who emerge and can take a team on an uptick. (Johansen’s) heart will be tough to replace but Northport is a bottom-up program and you can bet there’s talent to step in.”

The Bulldogs got that kind of a lift from 6-4, 290-pound junior Mike Seeger. Lindy had a known star in senior receiver/defensive back Chris Carson, but question mark in a young line. That Seeger has elevated his game this season has been a key.

Bellport has thrived in large part because senior Jason Hunt emerged and is making big plays to score in every imaginable way. And Smithtown West (4-2) is getting a huge boost from junior receiver Jack Melore, who already has nine touchdown receptions.

Kicking records?

Nassau, Suffolk and the parochial ranks all have placekicking stories to keep tabs on. Plainedge senior James Corke is 32-for-32 on PATs and has a shot at the Nassau record of 56 set by Bethpage’s Trevor Michaelsen in 2002, according to Newsday records. Westhampton sophomore Brody Schaffer currently has an Island-high five field goals. And Holy Trinity senior Evan Glusic has the season’s longest field goal: 53 yards.

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