There is an added incentive for the football teams at St. Anthony's and Bellport as they prepare for this week's semifinal round. The teams are looking to advance to their respective championship games.
And a win on Saturday would double their pleasure and allow each to celebrate coaching milestones. St. Anthony's coach Rich Reichert is in search of his 200th win. Bellport coach Joe Cipp Jr. is looking for win number 209, which would tie him for the Suffolk record held by former Comsewogue coach Tom Cassese.
"We want to win this one for our coach," said Bellport halfback Travis Houpe, who's had back-to-back three touchdown performances.
Those sentiments also are felt at St. Anthony's, where the Friars go for their 12th straight appearance in the CHSFL final. They'll need to beat undefeated Fordham Prep (9-0) to make it happen when they host the Rams in MSG Varsity's Friday night football game of the week at 7 p.m. live on IO channel 14.
St. Anthony's (9-0) is the defending CHSFL champion and the Friars have won eight titles in the past nine years. Reichert's record is 199-48-3 in 24 years.
The Friars' defense has been outstanding behind the line of Jonathan Desir and Bryan Rhodes and middle linebacker Tyler McLees. But they haven't seen a quarterback like Fordham's 6-2, 200-pound Max Kinder, who's thrown for 14 touchdowns and more than 1,300 yards.
Kinder has led the Rams to their first 9-0 start in school history. He's been unstoppable and brings his big arm to South Huntington to match skills with Friars signal caller Charlie Raffa, who's spun some magic of his own. He leads a St. Anthony's offense that scores 38 points per game and averages 277 yards on the ground.
Bellport (6-3) travels to Newfield (8-1) for a 1 p.m. start on Saturday. The Clippers handed Newfield its only loss just two weeks ago. The Wolverines turned the ball over early and often and Bellport jumped to a 24-0 first half lead.
This Suffolk Division II showdown promises to be a hard-hitting and highly emotional affair. It is a tale of two diverse programs.
Newfield, which won its first playoff game in school history last week, will be out to prove it can play with Bellport, which has won more playoff games (34) than any team in Suffolk history. The Clippers have beaten Newfield in 12 of 13 all-time meetings and outscored the Wolverines, 569-87.
Lawrence vs. Hewlett, at Hofstra, 7 p.m.: Hewlett (7-2) won, 35-7, in Week 3 but this is a different Lawrence (7-2) team. Expect an offensive shootout.
Garden City vs. Wantagh, at Hofstra, 10 a.m.: Garden City (8-1) has appeared in the Nassau Conference final 23 times since 1982, winning 16 titles. Wantagh (7-2) lost to the Trojans in last year's final, 14-0. Defense dictates the flow in this one.
Longwood at Floyd, 1 p.m.: All eyes will be on this Suffolk Division I rivalry. Longwood (7-2) won, 22-13, in Week 5 but Floyd (7-2) has won 12 of the 14 meetings since 1999. The teams are 2-2 all-time in the playoffs. Will it be Stacey Bedell and Floyd or Kavaughn Wiggins and Longwood moving on?