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Nassau Conference II final preview

Garden City's Mark Ellis (23) intercepts a

Garden City's Mark Ellis (23) intercepts a pass meant for Wantagh's Ryan Sliwak (34) as Garden City's Liam Kennedy (20) watches at right in the second quarter. Garden City defeated Wantagh High School 21-7 in the semifinal playoff football game at Hofstra University. (Nov. 13, 2010) Photo Credit: Kathy Kmonicek

The last two undefeated teams in Nassau County — Carey and Seaford — put their perfect records on the line tomorrow against the teams that played them the closest during the regular season. Here's what to look for in the Conference II game. I'll have the Conference IV preview up either late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

Conference II:

No. 1 Carey (10-0) vs. No 2 Garden City (9-1), 12:30 p.m. at Hofstra — This game is a bit of a role reversal from recent meetings, as the Seahawks come in as the undefeated favorite.

Carey hasn't really been tested yet in the playoffs, winning by a combined 87-16 over Westbury and Mepham. Last week, quarterback Kyle Zahradka went 8-for-12 for 238 yards and three touchdown passes to Steven Marino, who caught four passes for 133 yards.

But going to the air again tomorrow may be playing right into Garden City's hands. The Trojans have a menacing defensive backfield led by Mark Ellis (pictured above), Patric Berkery and Matt Confort. Linebackers Stephen Jahelka and Brian Fischer have also picked off passes this season.

Zahradka has thrown nine interceptions on the season, so coach Mike Stanley may opt to keep it on the ground with Rob Zorn, John Daddino and Giuliano Bove, as he did in Week 3 when Carey defeated Garden City, 26-14. The 26 points are a season-high against a Trojans' defense that has allowed just 67 points on the season and has pitched four shutouts.

Last week, Garden City defeated Wantagh 21-7 behind Jahelka, who rushed for 94 yards on 19 carries, including the game's first touchdown, and made seven tackles. 

Expect an ultra-conservative gameplan for Garden City, which will look to make its breaks off turnovers.

History lesson: Garden City has appeared in six of the last seven Conference II finals, winning four, including a 14-0 win over Wantagh last season. Carey's last title came in 1978 as a member of Conference III. The Seahawks lost to the Trojans 31-9 in the 2005 final, their only finals appearance since '78.

See ya'll at Hofstra tomorrow!


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