East Islip and West Islip highlight a weekend of backyard brawls
Backyard brawls and crosstown rivalries will highlight this week's top high school football games. Perhaps, the granddaddy of them all is the renewing of the game between the Islips in which East meets West.
It doesn't get any better than East Islip and West Islip. And it's even sweeter when both teams are bound for the postseason. West Islip and super quarterback Sam Ilario have been unstoppable and host a banged up East Islip squad which lost halfback Matt Walter to a foot injury in last week's loss at unbeaten Smithtown West.
East Islip will play at West Islip at 2 p.m. Saturday in the first meeting for these two teams since 2010. East Islip leads the series, 17-15-3, with the Redmen winning the last four meetings.
It might seem like a mismatch -- two teams headed in opposite directions -- as West Islip, buoyed by Ilario's six touchdowns comes off a huge win over North Babylon. East Islip is nursing an abundance of injuries and on the heels of a blowout loss to Smithtown West.
But it's never what it seems when these teams meet.
Commack at Sachem North, Friday, 7 p.m.: Sachem North has started out at least 4-0 in each of the last four seasons and runs a dynamic offense with halfbacks Anthony Ross, Malik Pierre and Kevin Bragaglia. The Flaming Arrows' high-powered offense is averaging 44 points per game and hosts undefeated Commack and its daunting defense, which has allowed a division-low 34 points, led by linebacker Josh Valentin. Something's gotta give.
Bay Shore at North Babylon, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Bay Shore hasn't beaten North Babylon since 1993 and the Marauders are reeling from last week's 40-18 loss to Riverhead. The Bulldogs couldn't find an answer for West Islip's Sam Ilario and lost a 42-35 heartbreaker. This could be a shootout.
Riverhead at Smithtown West, Saturday, 4 p.m.: Jeremiah Cheatom had 264 yards and a whopping 41 carries in last week's win and will be asked to carry the load against the Bulls. Riverhead has won the last 8 meetings since 1990. Smithtown West can score in bunches led by quarterback Matt Heldberg and halfback Logan Greco, who has 794 yards rushing.
Long Beach at Garden City, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: These teams engaged in a two-point thriller a year ago when the Garden City defense stymied a two-point conversion to hold on for a 20-18 win. Both teams are 3-1 and Garden City is coming off a 28-0 blowout loss to Carey, its worst home defeat since 1980.
Plainedge at Bethpage, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: This is one of those backyard brawls to savor. Two excellent programs that get after it every year. Physical Plainedge pounded Lawrence, the two-time defending champion, in every phase of the game last week, to win 36-20 and improve to 4-0. Bethpage and quarterback Christian Ferruzza are averaging 37 points per game and are 3-1.
Seaford at West Hempstead, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Halfback Enrique McFarlane has shredded opposing defense as West Hempstead is off to a 4-0 start and getting ready for a showdown with undefeated Roosevelt. The Rams cannot look past Seaford (2-2), which dropped a close one to Locust Valley last week.