Floyd football has found itself in some unfamiliar territory.
A perennial powerhouse for Long Island and Suffolk Division I football over the past 20 years, the Colonials enter 2016 as the No. 5 seed after its first season with a losing record in 19 years, according to coach Paul Longo.
“We’re ranked low this season, I guess people are doubting us,” said three-year starting lineman Greg Amato. “But they’ll see during the season.”
Amato, starting at center, along with Raquell Davis and Bryan Carney anchor the offensive line as three-year starters. Longo said Floyd’s offensive line will be the key to a turnaround from a 3-6 season.
“The most important thing in football is the line, I think,” Longo said. “If you don’t have a good line, you’re really going to have a hard time doing anything.”
Floyd has won nine county titles and five Long Island Championships since 2001 – last winning both in 2012. The Colonials have also made the playoffs the last 16 seasons. But with teams such as Longwood and Lindenhurst emerging in the recent years, Floyd has been knocked off the top.
“It’s been like that the past couple of years,” Longo said. “It’s something you get used to. Usually the first seed and the best team and to beat us was a huge upset, now I think we’re a good team, pretty close to a lot of other really good teams in our league.”
The Colonials will get a nice boost in senior wide receiver and defensive back D’Andre Primus, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL suffered during at an offseason 7-on-7 camp. Longo said Primus could be a dangerous playmaker this season, and the senior feels healthy from his 2015 injury. Primus tried to stay positive last season but admitted it was difficult being on the sideline after starting as a sophomore.
“I was trying to pick people up at my position,” Primus said. “I tried to help them and coach them at stuff they could be doing better.”
Floyd also returns senior wide receiver and defensive back A.J. Ray, along with linebacker Mike Bradley, who Longo called one of the best players in the division.
“We don’t have the superstar in the high school that we had in the past and the league is very tough,” said Longo, entering his 22nd year as head coach. “I think there’s a lot of balance.”
But Floyd is ready to prove it’s still an elite team. Make no mistake, the No. 5 ranking is a motivator, but the players also don’t want to be that team that breaks the playoff streak.
“We’re used to being the top dogs,” Amato said, “and now we got to work our way back up there.”
“We just got to get better at everybody playing together as a team,” Davis said. “That’s what we have to do this year. We have to try harder at everything we do.”