Former Cold Spring Harbor athletic director Bill Piner and former Smithtown athletic director Nick Schroeder shared the same vision in 1992. The two served as the Nassau and Suffolk football chairman, respectively, and set in motion the ever so popular Long Island football championships.
“We believed it would be successful, having Nassau play Suffolk for the Long Island crown,” said Schroeder. “We didn’t believe in the state tournament and the expenses to get there. We felt right from the beginning we would outdraw the state championships and it would grow. And Long Island has embraced it.”
It’s been 25 years since the start of the Long Island football championships — commonly known as the LIC’s. Since 1992, the champions in four enrollment-based classifications from Nassau and Suffolk have done battle for the right to claim a Long Island title.
This weekend, the 25th edition of the LIC starts with Floyd and Freeport, who will face off for the Long Island Class I title at Hofstra University on Friday at noon.
Freeport (10-1) and Floyd (10-1) get it on for the Class I title for the fourth time in 14 years. Freeport won the previous three meetings — in 2003, 2009 and 2010.
This game breaks down rather simply. Freeport is a speed team behind quarterback Rashad Tucker (12 TDs), halfback Elyjah Campbell (19 TDs) and wide receivers Jaelin Hood (16 TDs) and Jahred Wray (9 TDs). Freeport beat Farmingdale, 53-28, for the Nassau I crown and totaled 457 points this year for an average of 42 points per game.
Floyd is a disciplined offense behind center Greg Amato and halfback Nick Silva, who has 20 TDs. They’ll have to run the ball and manage the clock and force a few turnovers to win. The defense, led by middle linebacker Michael Bradley, will have its hands full.
Long Island Class III, East Islip vs. Wantagh, 4:30 p.m.
Wantagh (11-0) cruised through Nassau III with a stingy defense and opportunistic offense. The Warriors have never won 12 games in a season. The Warriors’ defense has only allowed 56 points this season and is led by Joe Valenti, Sean Colbert and Jimmy Joyce. They’ve shut out all three playoff opponents. No team has ever shutout all four playoff opponents in the postseason in LI history.
East Islip (9-2) is healthy and avenged both regular-season losses to Westhampton and Sayville. The confidence boost of beating Sayville and QB Jack Coan is immeasurable. The Redmen have a massive offensive line behind Kyle Nunez and Pat Fitzpatrick. Quarterback Kyle Fleitman has rushed for 631 yards in two playoff wins. Running room is hard to find against Wantagh.
SUNDAY — LaValle Stadium, Stony Brook University
Long Island Class II, Garden City vs. Half Hollow Hills West, Noon
Garden City (11-0) has been to the LIC more than any program on Long Island. The Trojans have 14 appearances, winning five titles — the last in 2012. The Trojans offense has rolled through Nassau II opponents with halfback Chris Mixon scoring 24 touchdowns. They average 38 points per game.
Half Hollow Hills West (9-2) beat previously unbeaten West Islip last week in impressive fashion, 38-20. The Colts have employed a three quarterback offense with Alexander Filacouris, Gerald Filardi and Deyvon Wright. Syracuse-bound wide receiver Cam Jordan caught two touchdown passes last week and he’s a big play threat.
Long Island Class IV, Seaford vs. Shoreham-Wading River, 4:30 p.m.
Seaford (11-0), the class of Nassau IV, is back in familiar territory in the LIC. This is Seaford’s seventh trip to the final, winning in 1998 and 2009. The Vikings have a special player in halfback Danny Roell, who has 22 touchdowns and a Long Island leading 2,167 yards rushing. Shoreham-Wading River counters with an excellent player of its own in halfback Chris Gray, who torched Babylon in last week’s Suffolk IV final for 341 yards and four touchdowns. Gray has 34 touchdowns and 1,974 yards rushing this season. Both lines are athletic and open truck-sized holes in the defense. The runners get all the glory but it all starts up front. The team that gets the push up front wins this showdown.
BOB HERZOG (88-34)
GREGG SARRA (86-36)
ANDY SLAWSON (82-40)
40 Dylan Laube, Westhampton
35 Jordan McLune, Farmingdale
34 Chris Gray, Shoreham-Wading River
29 Tyler Ammirato, Miller Place
27 Umari Taylor, Holy Trinity
26 Brandon Sobotker, North Babylon
24 Chris Mixon, Garden City
22 Kyle Fleitman, East Islip
22 Danny Roell, Seaford
21 Mike Valentino, Mepham
2,167 Danny Roell, Seaford
2,152 Dylan Laube, Westhampton
1,974 Chris Gray, Shoreham-WR
1,936 Umari Taylor, Holy Trinity
1,895 Kyle Fleitman, East Islip
1,699 Brandon Sobotker, North Babylon
1,568 Jordan McLune, Farmingdale
1,481 Deyvon Wright, Half Hollow Hills West
1,394 Tyler Ammirato, Miller Place
1,386 Ryan Aughavin, North Shore
2,764 Aaron Ruthman, Elmont
2,162 Jack Coan, Sayville
2,137 Ryan Sheridan, Commack
1,796 Sam Brown, Long Beach
1,735 Paul Cooper, Kings Park
1,691 Wes Manning, Ward Melville
1,666 Austin Perri, Lindenhurst
1,417 Michael Proios, Mepham
1,365 Dan Conte, Carey
1,360 Kyle Tiernan, Glenn
891 Chester Anderson, Elmont
875 Cameron Jordan, Half Hollow Hills West
865 Kevin Gersbeck, Miller Place
859 Ronnie Beard, Commack
813 Tyler DeMeo, Carey
794 Jeremy Ruckert, Lindenhurst
716 Gavin Buda, Harborfields
695 Lucas Mathieu, Elmont
676 Mike Saleme, Herricks
652 Kevin Murphy, Seaford
COMPILED BY ANDY SLAWSON