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Elite teams will be facing tough challenges in pivotal week

Kellenberg QB Matthew Sluka carries the ball during

Kellenberg QB Matthew Sluka carries the ball during the CHSFL Class AA championship against Fordham Prep at Mitchel Athletic Complex on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Photo Credit: Richard T. Slattery

A fantastic slate of Friday night games heads a pivotal weekend in high school football. We hit the midpoint of the 2018 season and some clarity will come to most leagues after this week.

Don’t confuse confidence with arrogance when the top teams on Long Island face off against intraleague rivals. They’ll be ready.

The defending champions from Lindenhurst, Westhampton, Garden City, Kellenberg and Stepinac will all have strong opponents. Garden City and Westhampton put their long winning streaks on the line.

Perhaps, the best two games on the schedule for pure atmosphere might be Suffolk’s showdown of unbeatens between Northport and West Islip or Nassau’s backyard brawl between Plainedge and Wantagh.   

SUFFOLK DIVISION III

Sayville at Westhampton, Friday, 6 p.m.: This game features two of Long Island’s top defensive players. Rugged middle linebacker Liam McIntyre will lead Westhampton (3-0), the defending LI Class III champions, who are on a  15-game win streak. Sayville has a hard-hitting defense led by Aidan Kaler, who is one of the very best sideline-to-sideline defenders in a decade.    

SUFFOLK DIVISION IV

Mt Sinai at Babylon, Friday, 6 p.m.: Mt. Sinai (3-0) shook up the division with an early-season 14-7 win over previously unbeaten Shoreham-Wading River (2-1). Babylon (2-1) is playing with its third quarterback— sophomore Luke Lassen — and he’ll be tested by a Mustangs defense that has allowed a division-low 27 points. Babylon has scored a division-high 105 points.

CHSFL

Stepinac at St. Anthony's, Friday, 7 p.m.: A rematch of the AAA final from a year ago in which Stepinac (2-1) beat St. Anthony’s, 47-22. These powerhouse programs meet at the midpoint of the season in a game that will weigh heavily on playoff seeding. The Friars' offensive line needs to give QB Greg Campisi time to win this one.

NASSAU CONFERENCE II

Carey at Garden City, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Garden City, the two-time defending Class II champions, extended LI’s longest win streak to 27 games last week. The defense has allowed only one score through three games. Carey (2-1) always rises to the challenge in big Nassau II games.  

NASSAU CONFERENCE III

Plainedge at Wantagh, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Wantagh (2-1) shut down a potent Roosevelt offense a week ago, 7-0, to hand the Rough Riders their first loss. Plainedge (3-0) is just flat out talented with a backfield that includes QB Dan Villari and RB Dion Kuinlan. The Warriors and MLB Will DiMatteo will need another masterful defensive effort. Wantagh has endured an early-season schedule that included top-seeded Lawrence (3-0), Roosevelt (2-1) and now Plainedge. Are you kidding?

NASSAU CONFERENCE IV

Cold Spring Harbor at East Rockaway, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Interesting matchup. Cold Spring Harbor (3-0) has pitched three straight shutouts behind end Aidan Adomaites and lineman Kolton Gagnon and East Rockaway (2-1) is averaging 30 points per game, behind halfback Jarell Brown, who had 323 yards rushing and three scores the past two weeks.

SUFFOLK DIVISION II

Lindenhurst at North Babylon, Robert Moses MS, Saturday, 2 p.m.: First meeting since 1982 between these schools. Great matchup between Lindenhurst, the defending LI Class I champion, and North Babylon, the defending Suffolk II champion. Both teams are 2-1 and North Babylon has found its offensive rhythm, totaling 95 points in the last two weeks.

SUFFOLK DIVISION II

Northport at West Islip, Saturday, 2 p.m.: West Islip has reached the Division II final three years in a row. Northport is one team that stands in its way of another finals appearance. Northport has playmakers but can only win this game behind the play of its defense led by Tyler Pedersen and Jeremy and Justin Gerdvil. West Islip QB Mike LaDonna has been unstoppable through three games. He has 484 yards rushing and six touchdowns on 48 carries. He also has thrown for four scores.

CHSFL

Kellenberg at St. John the Baptist, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: All-Long Island QB Matt Sluka has the Firebirds off to a 3-0 start and on a school record 14-game win streak. The Cougars (2-1) can make a statement in this game with an upset win over the defending champions.

GREGG SARRA (20-10)

Mepham

Westhampton

Mt. Sinai

Elmont

Bethpage

Plainedge

Bellport

North Babylon

Newfield

Northport

ROGER RUBIN (22-8)

Mepham

Westhampton

Babylon

Elmont

Bethpage

Wantagh

Bellport

Lindenhurst

Newfield

West Islip

ANDY SLAWSON (21-9)

VSC

Westhampton

Mt. Sinai

Elmont

Bethpage

Wantagh

Bellport

North Babylon

Newfield

West Islip

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