The final week of the high school football regular season is upon us, and a handful of games will have a direct impact on home-field advantage and seeding for the playoffs. Here’s a look at a few of the biggest games this weekend and their importance in the standings:
If you love playmakers and big-time offense, it doesn’t get any better than the game of the week. In a battle of 7-0 teams in Suffolk III, Westhampton will visit Sayville for a 2 p.m. game Saturday.
The Hurricanes and electric halfback Dylan Laube have run all over opposing teams this fall, setting the stage for the regular-season finale. The elusive junior leads Long Island with 1,626 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns.
Getting into a shootout with Sayville senior Jack Coan, arguably the greatest quarterback in Long Island high school football history, probably would not be a good idea.
“We are not planning on such a scenario. Every year we try to slow the game down,” Westhampton coach Bill Parry said. “He’s a special player and they score a lot of points. Every minute we keep the ball out of Jack’s hands is a good thing. We take away the first three reads and Jack hits the fourth. It mentally breaks you down. The plan is to slow them down enough to score more than them.”
Westhampton relies on the big-play ability of Laube, who has scored 13 touchdowns of more than 50 yards. He has returned two kicks for scores and is a threat every time he touches the ball. He victimized East Islip and Kings Park with back-breaking runs in games that have turned into routs.
“We have to put people in place to take away some of those cutback runs and shut down those lanes,” Sayville coach Rob Hoss said. “We’ll sacrifice field position on special teams because we won’t kick to him. He’s extremely fast, a cross between backs Dalton Crossan and Brock Jackolski.”
Coan, who is headed to Wisconsin, has thrown for 118 touchdowns in a storied high school career. He has passed for 1,503 yards and 21 touchdowns this season and will rely on halfback Ashton Bradley and a triumvirate of receivers to counter the Westhampton offense.
Last year, Sayville beat Westhampton in the season opener, 33-19, and in the Suffolk III semifinal, 56-27.
Babylon at Port Jefferson, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Babylon (7-0) can lock up the top seed in Suffolk IV with a win over vastly improved Port Jefferson. The undefeated Panthers have risen above the upper-echelon teams in an exciting regular season. Quarterback Scott Sasso has guided the Panthers to seven straight wins with a balanced offense. Port Jefferson (5-2) has won four in a row, and a win would cement the Royals as a contender.
Garden City at
Mepham, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Garden City (7-0) can punctuate another undefeated regular season in Nassau II with a win over one of Long Island’s top offensive units. The Trojans’ top-rated defense looks to shut down Mepham, which averages 36 points, and talented halfback Michael Valentino. Mep ham has scored 33 points three weeks in a row and lost two of those games. The Pirates (4-3), who have allowed 27 points per game, need to find some defense.
Roosevelt, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Both teams are 6-1 in Nassau III, and this game will have a major impact on the RPI ratings and postseason seeding. Both were beaten handily by first-place Wantagh, which is undefeated. They should be playing for the two seed and a first-round home game. Roosevelt won both meetings last season, 44-14 in the season opener and 28-20 in the first round of the playoffs.
BOB HERZOG (50-20)
Valley Stream South
GREGG SARRA (47-23)
Valley Stream South
ANDY SLAWSON (46-24)
Valley Stream South
31 — Dylan Laube, Westhampton
23 — Tyler Ammirato, Miller Place
23 — Chris Gray, Shoreham-Wading River
21 — Jordan McLune, Farmingdale
19 — Brandon Sobotker, North Babylon
17 — Mike Valentino, Mepham
16 — Christian Flowers, Wyandanch
16 — Umari Taylor, Holy Trinity
15 — Kyle Fleitman, East Islip
15 — Chris Mixon, Garden City
15 — Danny Roell, Seaford
1,626 — Dylan Laube, Westhampton
1,499 — Danny Roell, Seaford
1,302 — Umari Taylor, Holy Trinity
1,299 — Brandon Sobotker, North Babylon
1,186 — Chris Gray, Shoreham-WR
1,112 — Mike Valentino, Mepham
1,138 — Christian Flowers, Wyandanch
1,055 — Corey Bull, Roosevelt
1,026 — Ryan Aughavin, North Shore
1,001 — Kyle Fleitman, East Islip
2,005 — Aaron Ruthman, Elmont
1,915 — Ryan Sheridan, Commack
1,503 — Jack Coan, Sayville
1,494 — Sam Brown, Long Beach
1,454 — Paul Cooper, Kings Park
1,341 — Michael Proios, Mepham
1,246 — Wes Manning, Ward Melville
1,178 — Austin Perri, Lindenhurst
1,020 — Alexander Odle, Wyandanch
980 — Dan Codispoti, Patchogue-Medford
739 — Ronnie Beard, Commack
669 — Chester Anderson, Elmont
613 — Tyler DeMeo, Carey
575 — Kevin Gerbeck, Miller Place
570 — Jeremy Ruckert, Lindenhurst
542 — Mike Saleme, Herricks
524 — Christian Flowers, Wyandanch
514 — Vincent Deal, Long Beach
511 — Kevin Murphy, Seaford
499 — Lucas Mathieu, Elmont
— ANDY SLAWSON