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Week 7 high school football preview: Battles of unbeatens in Nassau

James Napoli of MacArthur cuts back to avoid

James Napoli of MacArthur cuts back to avoid the Mepham offense during a Nassau Conference II football game in Bellmore on Saturday, October 2, 2021. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

The high school football teams at Wantagh, Plainedge, Garden City and MacArthur will put undefeated records on the line this week. Two of them will come away unscathed and two will suffer a first loss.

MacArthur (6-0) travels to Garden City (6-0) for a Nassau Conference II game on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The Generals average 32 points per game behind halfback James Napoli, who has rushed for 841 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Garden City defense, led by linebacker Brendan Staub, has allowed just two touchdowns through six games.

"This all starts up front and we have to control the line of scrimmage," Garden City coach Dave Ettinger said. "MacArthur is always a big physical team . . . It’s become a very intense rivalry, regardless of records, even though we’ve both been very good for years."

Garden City handled MacArthur, 35-29, in the regular season game in the spring of 2021. The conference championship was another close one as the Trojans needed two goal-line stands to edge MacArthur, 14-7.

"It was another intense game in our rivalry," Ettinger said.

Garden City has lost only eight games in the last 10 seasons. The Trojans average 44 points per game. They are led by halfback Jack Cascadden, who has rushed for 777 yards and 12 scores.

In Nassau Conference III, Wantagh (6-0) will travel to Plainedge (6-0) for a battle of unbeatens at 2 p.m. Saturday. It is the first meeting between these teams in three years and Plainedge leads the all-time series, 16-9-2.

Both teams play stifling defense. Plainedge has allowed three touchdowns. Wantagh has allowed six points per game.

To win, Plainedge will have to stop Wantagh halfback Tyler Martini. He has rushed for 1,179 yards and 12 touchdowns.

"He’s a big, strong kid and tough for one guy to tackle him," Plainedge coach Rob Shaver said. "I’ve seen him break too many tackles this year."

The Plainedge offense runs through quarterback Travis Shaver, who is a dual threat and has rushed 40 times for 442 yards and nine scores. He’s also passed for 815 yards and five TD.

"I love our rivalry and they look very athletic all over the field," Wantagh coach Keith Sachs said.

Neither team plans to empty the playbook for this one as they will most likely meet for the conference title in five weeks.

NASSAU I

Freeport at Farmingdale, Friday, 6:30 p.m.: The Farmingdale defense will need to contain quarterback D’Angelo Gordon in a game that carries playoff implications. Farmingdale holds a 24-22 edge in this series. Freeport had won five in a row before the Dalers won the spring game, 21-6.

SUFFOLK I

Commack at Whitman, Saturday, 6 p.m.: Whitman has never started a season at 7-0 in its 83-year history. Whitman’s Liam Villanti leads an O-line that steered the way for AJ Evans to run for three scores in a 41-35 win over Ward Melville last week. Whitman averages 38 points a game. Commack, led by Matt McGurk’s three TD passes, came back from a 14-point deficit to beat Longwood, 27-21.

SUFFOLK II

Northport at Half Hollow Hills East, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Plain but not simple game plan for Northport: Contain Hills East senior halfback Dakim Griffin (21 TDs) and there’s a good chance to win the game. Northport leads the all-time series, 12-4, and won the spring game, 34-13. The Tigers’ defense is led by Dylan McNaughton and JJ Ahlstrand.

SUFFOLK II

Bellport at West Islip, Saturday, 2 p.m.: The all-time series is tied at 15 wins apiece with one tie, but West Islip has dominated recently, winning the last seven games. That streak will likely end this week as Bellport has emerged as the team to beat in a rugged division.

SUFFOLK IV

Bayport-Blue Point at Port Jefferson, Brook Road Field, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Bayport-Blue Point’s Brady Clark has thrown for 1,077 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 446 yards and five scores. Port Jefferson’s Luke Filippi has thrown for 610 yards and five scores and run for 886 yards and 15 scores. BBP’s wide receiver Jameson Smith is the difference-maker here.

CHSFL

Iona Prep at St. Anthony’s, Iona Prep, Friday, 7 p.m.: St. Anthony’s quarterback Dante Torres leads the Friars against an Iona Prep team that has shut them out in the last two meetings, 21-0 and 35-0. Torres is electric and has totaled more than 1,000 yards of offense.

STAFF PICKS

GREGG SARRA (73-16)

Farmingdale

North Shore

Clarke

Newfield

Iona Prep

Hicksville

Garden City

New Hyde Park

Floral Park

Plainedge

Whitman

Hills East

Bellport

West Babylon

Kings Park

Mount Sinai

ANDY SLAWSON (66-23)

Freeport

North Shore

Clarke

Connetquot

Iona Prep

Hicksville

Garden City

Mepham

Floral Park

Wantagh

Whitman

Hills East

Bellport

West Babylon

Kings Park

Mount Sinai

ROGER RUBIN (66-23)

Freeport

North Shore

Cold Spring Harbor

Connetquot

Iona Prep

Hicksville

Garden City

New Hyde Park

Floral Park

Plainedge

Whitman

Northport

Bellport

West Babylon

Kings Park

Mount Sinai

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