The Suffolk high school football playoffs are here. The shortened spring season has produced many highlights and standout performances but there is nothing like playoff atmosphere football.
Fans are back in the bleachers to some extent, and the weather has been chilly, giving this weekend the feel of October playoff football in April.
And here we go, two weeks to determine four Suffolk Conference champions.
Nassau has its own excitement as teams play the final week of the regular season to help set up its two weeks of playoffs.
The two sections, Nassau and Suffolk, couldn’t come together to hold the Long Island Championships this spring as Nassau decided to play one more regular-season game than Suffolk and will finish its season the weekend of May 1-2.
The final week of the Nassau season does however give us a potential Conference I championship preview when Massapequa travels to Oceanside on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Those two high-powered offensive units may decide not to empty the playbook as they likely will play again in two weeks for the title. Oceanside quarterback Charlie McKee has thrown more touchdown passes than anyone in Sailors history and they’re averaging 33 points per game. Massapequa and quarterback John Giller average 40 points per game.
Both defenses have allowed less than a touchdown per game. Massapequa returned a school-record three interceptions by Tyler Payne, Dom Casamassina and Luke Ciolino in last week’s 42-7 win over Hempstead.
Bellport at Half Hollow Hills East, Friday, 4 p.m.: Bellport has beaten the T-Birds in all six meetings, including five of those wins by 17 or more points. But this is a special Hills East team led by Hansen Award candidate Leisaan Hibbert, who has been a highlight reel all season. Bellport has a playmaker in the do-it-all Ka’Shaun Parrish. This Suffolk Conference II semifinal playoff promises to be good.
Westhampton at East Islip, Friday, 6 p.m.: These teams have met seven times in the past five seasons with Westhampton winning four times. But East Islip wins when it matters most – in the postseason – and has eliminated the Hurricanes in both matchups in 2016 and 2019. This Conference III semifinal should be a high-scoring game.
North Shore at Locust Valley, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Locust Valley halfback Ben Ferrara lit up previously unbeaten East Rockaway for 240 yards and five scores. The Falcons have another undefeated foe in front of them. North Shore (5-0) has Joe LaRosa, who scored five times last week.
Port Washington at Westbury, Friday, 5 p.m.: Westbury has scored two touchdowns this season and lost all four of its Nassau Conference I games. Port Washington has yet to find the end zone in its two games played. Something gives here and one walks away with a win.
Wantagh at Seaford, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Wantagh and Seaford haven’t played in 22 years. Both have had great success in their respective conferences. Seaford (4-0) has looked unstoppable. Wantagh (3-1) will have a few gadget plays ready to go to try and win this one.
Northport at West Islip, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Anthony Canales and Owen Johansen lead a Tigers defense that has to contain West Islip’s shifty quarterback Joe Costantino and halfback Ryan Behrens in this Suffolk Conference II semifinal.
Longwood at Whitman, Saturday, 3 p.m.: Whitman won its first league title in 37 years as quarterback Nicholas Bottoni and a fantastic receiving corps led by Brandon Ivy lit up the Lindy defense in a 35-14 win. Longwood has won the past seven meetings but hasn’t won a big game this season. Lions quarterback Noah Rattmer found his rhythm with two TD passes in last week's 28-0 win over Patchogue-Medford. The last time Whitman beat Longwood was in 1985.
GREGG SARRA (37-9)
ROGER RUBIN (37-9)