Starting tonight, four Nassau County champions will be crowned, with the winners heading to next weekend's Long Island Championship games.
I'll be previewing all four games right here on the High School Football blog, starting with tonight's Conference I matchup between Farmingdale and Freeport. For a complete breakdown of all eight finals in each county and St. Anthony's CHSFL final from today's paper, click here.
For our staff selection of all nine games, click here (all five of us picked Freeport to win this evening). For more on the playoffs from Andy Slawson and Bob Herzog, click here, and for the complete Nassau schedule, click here.
No. 1 Freeport (9-1) vs. No. 3 Farmingdale (8-2), 7 p.m. at Hofstra — Quick history lesson: In 10 of the last 13 years, one of these two teams has won the Conference I title (five each). Freeport has won the last two and is the defending Long Island Class I champion.
In these teams' first meeting of the season, Sal Tuttle threw a game-winning TD pass with 35 seconds left to give the Dalers a 42-39 Week 3 win. For the Red Devils, that was the last game before last Thursday's 39-25 win over Syosset that they didn't score at least 40 points. They overtook Oceanside as the highest scoring team on Long Island with 41.3 points per game. They scored exactly 41 points in the last five games of the regular season.
Farmingdale defeated second-seeded Oceanside 42-20 last week in the semifinals behind Tuttle, who was 8-for-9 for 162 yards and ran for two scores. He injured his right throwing shoulder in the game, but is expected to play tonight. If he can't, running back Kevin Wahl will step in behind center and operate the Wildcat.
These teams are essentially a carbon copy of each other on offense. Both have talented QBs (Tuttle and Isaiah Barnes) who run the spread, but their bread-and-butter is a running game behind workhorses Wahl and Dan Olivier (pictured above). They also have do-it-all playmakers in Brian Prendergast and Pat Starke (Farmingdale) and Maurice Irby and Evan Lapice (Freeport).
This game could come down to the kicking games, as an extra point miss may very well be the difference. Farmingdale has the edge in that department with Greg Catalano, who nailed a game-winning field goal against MacArthur two weeks ago. Might he factor into the game tonight? It's certainly possible in this battle of two extremely even teams.
See ya'll at Hofstra in a few hours for this one!