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Can Horton and Longwood stop Ruckert and Lindenhurst?

Newsday's Gregg Sarra previews the Week 6 Suffolk Division I game between Longwood and Lindenhurst. (Credit: Newsday / Mark LaMonica)

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:

SUFFOLK II

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?

SUFFOLK IV

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.

NASSAU I

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.

NASSAU II

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)

Longwood

Ward Melville

Shoreham-Wading River

Massapequa

Mepham

Clarke

Northport

North Babylon

West Islip

Kings Park

ANDY SLAWSON (35-15)

Longwood

Commack

Miller Place

Massapequa

Carey

North Shore

Bay Shore

North Babylon

West Islip

Kings Park

GREGG SARRA (34-16)

Longwood

Commack

Shoreham-Wading River

Massapequa

Carey

North Shore

Northport

North Babylon

Hills West

Kings Park

FOOTBALL LEADERS

TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS

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

RUSHING YARDS

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

PASSING YARDS

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

RECEIVING YARDS

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

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