Kings Park football head coach Mark O'Brien on Oct. 23, 2021.

Kings Park football head coach Mark O'Brien on Oct. 23, 2021. Credit: Bob Sorensen

The Kings Park football team will be without a number of players for a variety of reasons, including COVID-19, for Friday night’s Suffolk Division III semifinal playoff game at East Islip.

Kings Park coach Mark O’Brien said his team will be without four starters for the game. The school, however, would not reveal the number of total players who have COVID-19.

"For the past week, the varsity football team has been dealing with player injuries, illness and COVID-19 that will prevent some players from being eligible for Friday night’s game," said Bill Denniston, the director of athletics for the Kings Park district for the past eight years. "In regard to COVID-19, we have performed contact tracing and testing for the varsity football team and we are prepared to play Friday night. This is not uncommon for many teams this season. It’s just unfortunate for us to be dealing with these issues during our postseason run."

O’Brien said the team will suit up 31 varsity players and add 12 callups from the junior varsity for the game.

"Those are things that are out of our control," O’Brien said. "We have been preparing all week and will play the best game possible."

Kings Park (6-2) lost to East Islip, 25-21, earlier this season. The Kingsmen will need to stop East Islip quarterback Derek Burrell, who has accounted for 2,306 all-purpose yards, including 26 total touchdowns this season. He’s scored 13 on the ground as East Islip has averaged 39 points per game. Friday night’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m.

"The team will be prepared and confident heading to East Islip Friday night," Denniston added. "And they’re confident to walk off the field victorious at the conclusion of the game."

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