The Garden City football team rarely loses. Since the inception of the Long Island Championships in 1992, the Trojans have dominated Nassau Conference II.
They will be making a record 19th appearance in the big show on Saturday and have eight Long Island titles, more than any other program in any classification.
Year in and year out, the Trojans reload and get back to work.
Garden City has been Newsday’s top-ranked Large Schools team since the start of the season. The Trojans are 11-0, scoring 45 points per game even though their first-team offense usually exits games after the first half.
And not to be overshadowed is the Trojans’ stingy defense, which has allowed four points per game.
More often than not, Garden City coach David Ettinger finds himself coaching the second half of blowouts and trying not to break the 42-point lopsided scores policy in Nassau. (Ettinger won’t have to worry about that policy this week; it does not exist in the Long Island Championships.)
Garden City and Bellport (10-1) will meet for the Class II championship at Stony Brook University on Saturday at noon. After a three-point loss in the season opener, Bellport has reeled off 10 straight wins.
This time there is an added incentive for Garden City. There is only one team in the past 40 years with multiple wins and a winning record against Garden City: Bellport, the Suffolk Division II champion.
These two programs have proud traditions. They’ve met four times in the LIC — and Bellport has won all four.
"You’re talking about programs that are rich in winning traditions," Bellport coach Jamie Fabian said. "There is going to be a lot of emotion out there this weekend. Expect a good one."
With the status of outstanding halfback Jack Cascadden still in doubt because of a knee injury, Garden City might unleash the powerful arm of quarterback Luke Schmitt. He has completed 77% of his passes.
Schmitt passed for 11 touchdowns in the regular season and has been heating up in the playoffs with nine more scoring strikes. His favorite target has been Jackson Perisa with nine touchdown catches. Halfback Robert Votruba has filled in admirably for Cascadden and given the Trojans a balanced attack.
"They execute so well and they’re very disciplined in everything they do," Fabian said. "We’ll have to play mistake-free and play our style of hard-nosed football."
Bellport will counter with quarterback Jack Halpin, who has rushed for 893 yards and 15 touchdowns and thrown for 1,011 yards and seven scores. Clippers halfback Donte Phillips has 1,227 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns.
The Clippers allow an average of 11 points per game, but they haven’t seen an offense like Garden City’s. The Trojans do everything exceptionally well. Schmitt will sit behind the massive offensive line and put the Clippers’ secondary to the test.
The big question: Will history repeat itself?