Quarterback Peter Liotta of North Shore carries the ball for a...

Quarterback Peter Liotta of North Shore carries the ball for a gain of several yards during a Nassau IV football game on Saturday, October 30, 2021 in Glen Head. Credit: Dawn McCormick

The abbreviation ‘LIC’ carries a significance never lost on Long Island’s high school football players.

It stands for Long Island Championships, when the winner of Nassau County meets the winner of Suffolk in four different classifications for local bragging rights.

It’s been a very big deal since the inception of the LIC, which brought the neighboring counties together in 1992.  

North Shore was new to the big stage in 2021 and put on a defensive display while shutting out Shoreham-Wading River, 7-0, to capture the school’s first LIC.

The Vikings return to defend their title against another newcomer in Bayport-Blue Point.

Both teams are undefeated and meet for the Long Island Class IV title at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium on Friday at noon.

North Shore carries an 11-0 record and a 19-game winning streak into the big game. Bayport-Blue Point is 10-0 in search of its first LIC.

“There’s a different level to the LIC, especially the first time you prepare to play in the big game,” said North Shore coach Dan Agovino. “Our experience will help us. We’ve been here and can focus on the task at hand. The experience helped get us through tough games this season.”

The North Shore football team knows exactly what Bayport-Blue Point is going through this week. The Phantoms qualified for the schools’ first shot at a Long Island crown after a 35-6 win over Glenn for the Suffolk Division IV title.  

Can the Phantoms handle the excitement, the crossing of the county line to play an unknown opponent and the atmosphere that comes with playing in the larger venue?

“We’re trying to stay grounded and focused on North Shore, an athletic and very well coached team,” said Bayport-Blue Point coach Mike Zafonte. “The community is fired up and it’s been such an exciting week. We’ve had great practices. We’ve had to prepare for a lot of good teams in our division – North Shore is next.”

North Shore lost one of Long Island’s top players when first-team All-Long Island selection Reece Ramos, an offensive guard and defensive end, tore his ACL during summer workouts. The devastating injury could have meant doom for some programs, but not North Shore. The Vikings rallied around their captain and Ramos has embraced his role on the sideline.

“It was a tremendous loss back in June,” Agovino said. “You could feel it amongst the entire team. He’s been a huge help on our sideline.”

North Shore wins with a very balanced offense behind quarterback Peter Liotta and halfback Nick LaRosa. The Vikings run the ball well and that’ll be the challenge for the Bayport defense.

“Our defensive line needs to play lights out against North Shore,” Zafonte said. “We know what’s in front of us.”

North Shore is good enough to keep the Phantoms' offense off the field with a methodical, time-consuming game plan.

“They’re explosive and very athletic with a talented quarterback in [Brady] Clark and the [Danny and JJ] Aiello brothers,” said Agovino. “They remind me of those Cold Spring Harbor teams with all those Division-I lacrosse players that fly all over the place. But we have players that can handle it. We can go up-tempo or slow it down.”

The North Shore defense is led by ends Pat Godfrey and Isaac Bratter and tackle Dan Sotiryadis. The Vikings haven’t allowed a score in the LIC.

Can that continue against a team that averages 40 points per game?

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