Call this an appetizer before the Long Island high school football feast of 2014 -- an abbreviated schedule of four games tonight and seven tomorrow before a full plate of games on next weekend's menu.
What's new this season? How about 20 first-year coaches, 13 in Suffolk. How about the end of the 2-year-old developmental league, Nassau V, and the subsequent return of Nassau's symmetrical four-league, 14-team format. How about a weekly bye for one team in Suffolk III -- it's top-seeded Sayville this week -- which has only 13 teams after East Hampton dropped football. How about the first state Catholic schools championship matching the CHSFL winner titlist against the Buffalo-area Catholic winner.
Dig in, football fans
Buffalo St. Joseph at St. Anthony's, Friday night, 7 p.m.
The defending CHSFL champion Friars lost this opening-day matchup last season, 20-14, their only defeat. They hope to reverse that decision behind the running of returning Hansen Award winner and Boston College-bound Jordan Gowins. This could be a preview to the inaugural state Catholic schools championship on Nov. 29.
Amityville at Hauppauge, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
No. 4 seed Amityville, led by tight end/linebacker Gary Looney, has a tough opener on the road against No. 8 Hauppauge, led by running back/cornerback Anthony Anderson, who had six interceptions last season.
Eastport/South Manor at Miller Place, 1:30 p.m.
The host Panthers feature one of the top players in Suffolk in running back/linebacker Jake Buonaiuto, who made 86 tackles and five sacks last year. ESM has its own tackling machine in defensive end Pat Minogue, who made 74 tackles with 16 sacks.
Huntington at Islip, tomorrow, 2 p.m.
No. 2 Huntington, the defending league champs, will switch slick wide receiver Infinite Tucker to quarterback. No. 4 Islip is led by Bryant-bound 300-pound lineman Cobi Rose.
Kellenberg at Chaminade, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
The Flyers, the No. 2 seed in the CHSFL, shouldn't have much trouble with the Firebirds, 1-10 last season. But it'll be a big day in Mineola, where there will be a pre-game ceremony to dedicate Chaminade's fully renovated home field, which is being renamed Gold Star Stadium at Ott Field in honor of Chaminade alumni killed in military service.