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Football preview: Sayville will try to unseat unbeaten Westhampton

Dylan Laube runs for a touchdown during the first

Dylan Laube runs for a touchdown during the first half of Westhampton Beach's game against Bellport at Westhampton Beach on Sept. 8, 2017. Credit: Daniel De Mato

Two Suffolk III football giants will clash in a pivotal Friday night game with playoff implications on the line. But what looked like an offensive shootout between the highest scoring teams in the division could take on a whole different look by game time.

Sayville (4-2) travels to undefeated Westhampton (6-0) for a 6 p.m. start. The Golden Flashes will need to slow down Westhampton’s star halfback Dylan Laube, who has 1,422 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns.

But Westhampton’s game plan will change as Sayville’s outstanding senior quarterback Jacob Cheshire, who has 15 touchdown passes, suffered an injury in the first half of last week’s game against Kings Park and will not play.

“We hope to have him back for next week but that’s not up to me,” Sayville coach Reade Sands said. “He is having an excellent season and we’ll have to overcome his absence.”

Sands and company will also have to put aside the forfeit assessed the Golden Flashes for unknowingly using an ineligible player in its win over East Islip.

“It’s been a tough week but our kids are resilient and we’ll come out and play hard,” he said. “We have athletes and we’ll make the adjustments. We’re facing a fundamentally sound football team with perhaps the best back on Long Island. We’re going to have to play great defense and keep the ball away from Laube as much as we can. We’ll need to do a good job of tackling.”

They’ll rely on junior Max Kolar, who will move to strong safety this week, senior defensive tackle Aidan Kolar, junior linebacker Aidan Kaler and sophomore defensive back Brock Murtha, who had two interceptions last week as the keys to stopping the Hurricanes.

While Sayville deals with a variety of adverse situations, a banged-up Westhampton is seemingly getting healthier. Rugged junior Liam McIntyre, who suffered a broken hand on the first play of the season, is back at fullback and linebacker for the Hurricanes.

“He’s a game changer,” Westhampton coach Bill Parry said. “He hits the hole very hard and he’s very physical. His return and our line is communicating blocking well.

Parry also pointed to first-year center Jake Bennett and the offensive line as a key to the team’s success. What has plagued the Hurricanes has been the pass defense.

“We have struggled against the pass and it’s something we’re working on,” Parry said. “We’re going to mix up our coverages and try and confuse the offense and force some mistakes.”

Babylon at Shoreham-Wading River, Friday, 6 p.m.: Shoreham-Wading River (5-1), the three-time defending LI Class IV champion, lost a close one against Miller Place, 21-14, and saw Suffolk’s longest win streak end at 12 last week. Miller Place’s lone loss came at the hands of gritty Babylon (6-0), which shoots for another undefeated regular season. This is an outstanding Suffolk IV contest that will determine home field in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Plainedge at Bethpage, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Plainedge quarterback Mike Ciuffo has thrown for 16 touchdowns and 902 yards and the Red Devils are 5-1. Bethpage (4-2) has lost some tough ones to Wantagh and Lawrence. Is this the week the Golden Eagles break into the upper echelon of Nassau III with a big win over a top tier opponent?

Glen Cove at Roslyn, Saturday, 2 p.m.: The Big Red of Glen Cove hopes to end Nassau’s longest losing streak at 14 this weekend on the road. They’ve been close this season but this is where they put it all together. Both teams are winless.

Connetquot at Northport, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Connetquot quarterback Dylan McDermott has thrown for 1,376 yards and 15 TD. His top targets are receivers George Wichelns and GQ Grippo. Northport has shown it can score, averaging 30 points per game behind QB Ryan Walsh, whose thrown for seven TDs in a balanced offense. Both teams are 4-2.

BOB HERZOG (32-18)

Ward Melville

Westhampton

Shoreham-WR

Roslyn

Plainedge

Central Islip

Northport

West Islip

Eastport-South Manor

Fordham Prep

ANDY SLAWSON (30-20)

Ward Melville

Westhampton

Babylon

Roslyn

Plainedge

Central Islip

Connetquot

West Islip

Eastport-South Manor

Fordham Prep

GREGG SARRA (30-20)

Ward Melville

Westhampton

Babylon

Glen Cove

Plainedge

Central Islip

Connetquot

West Islip

Harborfields

Fordham Prep

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