Two of Long Island’s defending football champions have encountered turbulent times heading into the sixth week of the regular season. Longwood, the defending Class I champ, hosts undefeated Lindenhurst in a Suffolk I game at 6 p.m. Friday.
The Lions are reeling after two straight road losses. They lost a triple overtime heartbreaker at Connetquot and were blown out by Floyd in the Parkway Bowl last week. The Lions defense has been shoddy and needs to tighten it up if they are to compete with Lindenhurst.
Longwood (3-2) needs to establish the running game behind bruising halfback Latrell Horton to keep pace with the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are 5-0 and have mostly cruised through the first five games of the season, the only tough game coming in a double overtime win over Northport. Lindenhurst’s Jeremy Ruckert has been a force all over the field. He kicked three field goals to make the difference in last week’s win over Ward Melville. The wide receiver demands double and triple coverage. He has also wreaked havoc on opposing offensive units. Lindenhurst can keep the champs spiraling down in the standings by handing them a third straight loss.
In other action:
West Islip at Half Hollow Hills West, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Hills West has turned to some of its underclassmen midway through the season. Sophomore Gerald Filardi has stepped into the starter’s role and the offense hasn’t skipped a beat. He is surrounded by weapons like sophomore halfback Davon Wright, who had four TDs last week and freshman Justin Brown, who added three scores last week. Syracuse commit Cameron Jordan is demanding double and triple coverage and the Colts are exploiting defensive units in many ways. West Islip (5-0) is the lone undefeated team in the division behind athletic quarterback Jake Guercio, who blends his elusive running style with that of halfback Drew Cestaro. Both teams can score, which defense will make the big plays?
Miller Place at Shoreham-Wading River, Friday, 7 p.m.: Shoreham (3-2), the defending Long Island Class IV champs, have lost twice in the past three weeks. The Wildcats offense has been out of rhythm and struggled to sustain drives. In last week’s 16-12 loss to Glenn, the Wildcats started six drives in Glenn territory and netted zero points. While Shoreham’s offense tries to figure it out, Miller Place (4-1) has quarterback Anthony Seymour, who is giving the Panthers offense some much-needed balance. He had three TD passes last week and with halfback Tyler Ammirato, who has 15 touchdowns, the Panthers can win the divisional title. The last time these schools played was in 2002 with Miller Place coming out on top. The Shoreham defense is the best in the division yielding 56 points. Defense will rule in this game that should come down to the final possession.
Baldwin at Massapequa, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Always an interesting matchup when these teams meet. Massapequa (4-1) pushed first place Farmingdale to the brink in last week’s last-second 45-42 loss. The Chiefs can score with anyone. Baldwin blew out Oceanside last week and halfback Jonathan DeBique is one of Nassau’s best runners.
Carey at Mepham, Saturday, 2 p.m.: This has all the makings of thigh-scoring affair. Mepham (4-1) is off to a 4-1 start behind Nassau’s touchdown leader Mike Valentino, who has 15 scores and 834 yards rushing. The Pirates are averaging 35 points per game. Carey (3-2) is also a scoring machine. Quarterback Dan Conte has thrown five touchdowns each to his main targets Tyler Demeo and Dom Scorcia. The last time Mepham beat Carey was in 2011.
BOB HERZOG (40-10)
ANDY SLAWSON (35-15)
GREGG SARRA (34-16)
21 — Dylan Laube, Westhampton
15 — Tyler Ammirato, Miller Place
15 — Chris Gray, Shoreham-Wading River
15 — Mike Valentino, Mepham
14 — Brandon Sobotker, North Babylon
13 — Jordan McLune, Farmingdale
12 — Christian Flowers, Wyandanch
12 — Umari Taylor, Holy Trinity
11 — Chris Mixon, Garden City
11 — Deyvon Wright, Half Hollow Hills West
1,200 — Dylan Laube, Westhampton
935 — Danny Roell, Seaford
890 — Brandon Sobotker, North Babylon
834 — Mike Valentino, Mepham
780 — Christian Flowers, Wyandanch
725 — Deyvon Wright, Half Hollow Hills West
724 — Kyle Fleitman, East Islip
722 — Alec Kiernan, Centereach
716 — Tommy Rohan, Wantagh
705 — Umari Taylor, Holy Trinity
1,443 — Sam Brown, Long Beach
1,399 — Aaron Ruthman, Elmont
1,387 — Ryan Sheridan, Commack
1,239 — Paul Cooper, Kings Park
1,105 — Jack Coan, Sayville
938 — Austin Perri, Lindenhurst
912 — Michael Proios, Mepham
877 — Alexander Odle, Wyandanch
868 — Isaiah Wilkerson, Whitman
819 — Danny Dollard, Eastport-South Manor
819 — Kyle Tiernan, Glenn
572 — Ronnie Beard, Commack
507 — Vincent Deal, Long Beach
477 — Jeremy Ruckert, Lindenhurst
437 — Chester Anderson, Elmont
414 — Christian Flowers, Wyandanch
411 — Kevin Murphy, Seaford
399 — Jamari Brown, Whitman
346 — Tyler DeMeo, Carey
343 — Lucas Mathieu, Elmont
340 — Mike Saleme, Herricks
— ANDY SLAWSON