There will be no easing into the 2016 season for two teams that have accounted for the last three Nassau II championships. The quirks of the scheduling formula match No. 1 MacArthur against host No. 3 Carey on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“Being that we stopped their quest for a third consecutive title, they might be looking forward to this game,” MacArthur coach Bobby Fehrenbach said, referencing the Generals’ victory over Carey in last year’s semifinals that ended the Seahawks’ two-year reign as county and Long Island champions. “But we are going to have a lot of new faces starting who will be thrown into the fire right away.”
Those new Generals are mostly at the skill positions, but returning Newsday All-Long Island two-way lineman Ryan O’Shea anchors an experienced defense. Their challenge will be the Seahawks’ veteran offensive unit led by dangerous wide receiver Tyler DeMeo plus running back Zach Dente and quarterback Dan Conte. “You can’t ask for a better way to start off the season, hosting the defending champs.” Carey coach Mike Stanley said. “Neither team is hoisting a trophy after the game, but will feel like a playoff atmosphere.”
Farmingdale at Baldwin, Saturday, 2 p.m.
The defending county champions return All-Long Island tailback Jordan McLune (35 touchdowns, 1,985 yards) and add Plainedge transfer Corey Hill, a bruising blocker who also rushed for 493 yards. Baldwin’s Jonathan Debique is a top running back/linebacker.
East Meadow at Freeport, Friday, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 seed East Meadow returns eight offensive starters, including quarterback Anthony LaRosa and running back Justin Reyes. No. 4 seed Freeport’s spread should again be dynamic, led by quick and elusive quarterback Rashad Tucker.
Northport at Ward Melville, Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Ward Melville is seeded No. 3, highest in school history, and the Patriots’ high hopes hinge on how well new quarterback Wesley Manning transitions from wide receiver. It helps to have fleet targets Eddie Munoz and John Corpac. Northport has running back depth in Frankie Stola and Ryan Elliott.
Elmont at Sewanhaka, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Elmont will air it out with quarterback Aaron Ruthman. Sewanhaka also has a potent passing attack featuring speedy wide receiver Stephane Eugene.
Kings Park at Westhampton, Friday, 6 p.m.
Paul Cooper set Kings Park single-season records for passing yards and completions last year and there’s experience up front. The Kingsmen must be wary of versatile Dylan Laube, (24 touchdowns) who can score from anywhere on the field.
Comsewogue at Rocky Point, Friday, 7 p.m.
Can Comsewogue start with a victory after losing all eight last season? Quarterback Anthony Guradiano gives them a chance. Sean McGovern runs the triple-option for Rocky Point, which went 2-6.
Wantagh at Plainedge, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Wantagh should be ready to get even for its loss to Plainedge in the county finals, helped by healthy middle linebacker Sean Colbert, who played much of last season with a shoulder injury. Defensive end Joe Valenti excels on a hard-hitting unit. The Red Devils are reloading after graduation of record-setting runner Davien Kuinlan.
Mt. Sinai at Glenn, Saturday, 2 p.m.
The host Knights will use first-year starter Kyle Tiernan at quarterback, aided by veteran, speedy wide receivers. The Mustangs’ Mike Carneiro is a big-play running back.
Holy Trinity at St. John the Baptist, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
St. John the Baptist should again contend for the Class AA league title behind a veteran offensive line led by 345-pound Jacob Woods. The Titans’ strong running game features Umari Taylor, who scored nine touchdowns and gained 572 yards.