TODAY'S PAPER
38° Good Morning
38° Good Morning
SportsHigh SchoolFootball

High school football playoff preview: Kellenberg faces fired-up St. Peter's, Centereach ready for Connetquot rematch

Centereach WR Matt Robbert stiff arms the Hills

Centereach WR Matt Robbert stiff arms the Hills East defender and picks up 25 yards on the play on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 at Centereach High School. Credit: George A. Faella

You can be sure that Kellenberg will not take St. Peter’s lightly in the semifinal round of the CHSFL Class AA-I playoffs. The Firebirds cannot afford that luxury after seeing the way St. Peter’s avenged an earlier season loss to Xavier with an upset win in the first round of the playoffs.

“I was really impressed with the way they handled their business last week,” said Kevin Hanifan, in his 24th year as Kellenberg head coach. “They were beaten handily by Xavier in the final week of the regular season and then they came out and played an inspired game the following week and beat them in the playoffs. That tells me a lot about the character of that team.”

St. Peter’s avenged a 35-13 loss to Xavier the previous week with a convincing 27-14 win in last week’s first round of the CHSFL playoffs. The win advanced the Eagles to play Kellenberg, the two-time defending champion, in a semifinal Saturday at Mitchel Athletic Complex at 7 p.m.

“They aren’t coming to Long Island to roll over, no chance,” Hanifan said. “We better come ready to play.”

The Firebirds beat St. Peter’s in a lopsided win 49-17 earlier in the season when they scored on the first seven possessions. But this isn’t the same Eagles team.

“We’ll find the right balance on offense to keep them from packing the box to stop our run game,” Hanifan said.

Quarterback Dan Settino will spread the ball to wide receivers Maximus Mongelli and Kyle Sharkey and rely on the power running of halfback Jordan DeLucia, who has torched opposing defensive units with 1,669 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns. DeLucia has rushed for more than 200 yards six times.

SUFFOLK DIVISION II

Connetquot at Centereach, Friday, 6 p.m.: Centereach ran over Connetquot during the regular season in a 35-20 win. Josh Ackerler and Zachary Hogan anchor a line that keys the Cougars' ability to drive the ball in time-consuming, methodical drives behind halfback Eric Harrington and slot back Matt Robbert. That will be the key when the Cougars host Connetquot in a quarterfinal playoff game. They’ll need to limit the opportunities for big playmakers in quarterback Drew Guttieri and wide receiver Cole Bunicci.

SUFFOLK DIVISION III

Kings Park at Half Hollow Hills West, Saturday 1 p.m.: These teams met in the season finale and Hills West rolled to a 49-28 home win. For the Kingsmen to avenge that loss, which cost them home field in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs, they’ll have to shut down the Colts' running game. Halfbacks Justin Brown and Dakim Griffin combined for 369 yards and six TDs on the ground.

NASSAU CONFERENCE II

Carey at Valley Stream Central, Saturday, 1 p.m.: Carey opened the season as the three seed and finished with a 4-4 record. VSC was the preseason 10th seed and went 6-2 earning a home game in the quarterfinal round. The teams did not meet this season. VSC has only allowed 84 points this season but stopping halfback Anthony DeNicola and quarterback Jason Kessler is no easy assignment.

SUFFOLK DIVISION IV

Glenn at Babylon, Friday, 6 p.m.: Glenn had one win and played 14-7 in week six and turned the season around. Glenn closed the season with three straight wins to qualify for the playoffs. Glenn quarterback Thomas Giaramita rushed for 107 yards and passed for another 126. A blocked punt return for a touchdown was the difference in the game. Expect another barnburner between old rivals.

NASSAU CONFERENCE III

Lynbrook at North Shore, Saturday, noon: North Shore, the preseason 11th seed, is having a fantastic season at 7-1, as quarterback James Desimone, a dual scoring threat, has directed on offense that averages 33 points per game, the second highest in the conference. Lynbrook is coming off a 36-0 loss to Plainedge. The teams did not meet this season.

PICKS

GREGG SARRA (79-24)

Wantagh

Riverhead

Sachem East

Connetquot

Newfield

Babylon

Port Jefferson

Carey

Mepham

North Shore

East Rockaway

Clarke

Patchogue-Medford

East Islip

Moore Catholic

ANDY SLAWSON (78-25)

Wantagh

Longwood

Sachem East

Centereach

Newfield

Babylon

Port Jefferson

Carey

Mepham

North Shore

East Rockaway

Clarke

Patchogue-Medford

East Islip

St. John the Baptist

ROGER RUBIN (79-24)

Wantagh

Longwood

Sachem East

Centereach

West Islip

Babylon

Port Jefferson

Carey

Mepham

North Shore

Locust Valley

Clarke

Ward Melville

Comsewogue

Moore Catholic

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

More high schools