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Nassau Conference II football preview 2012

Garden City's Ed Blatz pulls a catch into

Garden City's Ed Blatz pulls a catch into his chest during first half action. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Garden City is looking almost mortal this year after losing many of its starters to graduation, meaning that Wantagh has an excellent chance to make an early statement in Nassau II. The Warriors were bounced out of the playoffs last year by that senior-laden team and now return with some well-honed maturity of their own. Wantagh is led by senior quarterback Roddy Roche, who faces ninth-seeded Calhoun in the first week. As for the Trojans, they face a good test in Elmont in Week 2. The Spartans have an offensive force in running back Calvin Aristide, but field a rookie quarterback and a line that's still finding its groove.

The real wild card in Nassau II comes in the form of MacArthur, which moved down from I this year and has an eye on the big game at Hofstra after a six-year drought. The Generals boast more size this year and take on Wantagh in a tone-setting game in Week 2. Keep an eye on Carey, too. The Seahawks should prove to be a fun team behind stud quarterback Andrew Ris and meet Elmont in arguably the best and possibly most competitive Week 1 game in the conference.

GARDEN CITY TROJANS (11-1)

Coach: Tom Flatley, 28th season

Key players

Ed Blatz WR/RB 6-5, 210, Sr.

Scott D'Antonio LB/RB 6-0, 150, Sr.

Matt Schmelzinger NG 5-10, 170, Sr.

Matt Leto DB/RB 5-10, 160, Sr.

Brian Badgett DB/WR 5-11, 165, Sr.

Justin Guterding DB/WR6-1, 185, Sr.

About the Trojans: Garden City lost a bulk of its talent from last year's Long Island championship finalist team and enters 2012 with a number of question marks. Blatz leads the spread offense, while D'Antonio will head the 4-3 defense for a team that will miss its starting quarterback, two running backs, and two first-team All-Long Island players.

WANTAGH WARRIORS (9-2)

Coach: Keith Sachs, 20th season

Key players

Roddy Roche QB/S 6-3, 200, Sr.

Peter Brasile FB/MLB 5-10, 185, Jr.

Michael Stack WB/LB 5-8, 165, Sr.

Frank Proscia OL/DL 5-9, 210, Sr.

Nick English OL/DL 5-8, 230, Jr.

Brendan Devine OT6-6, 260, Sr.

About the Warriors: Wantagh will be led this year by Roche, who brings a strong arm and speed to the quarterback position. The county semifinalists are very versatile and boast an explosive, well-balanced offense that can score any number of ways. The Warriors will be led by Brasile on defense and hope to topple Garden City, who knocked them out of the playoffs last year.

CAREY SEAHAWKS (6-4)

Coach: Mike Stanley, sixth season

Key players

Sean Nagy OT/DT6-1, 270, Sr.

Matthew Lucito C/LB 5-9, 180, Sr.

Timothy Turcic OG/DT6-1, 250, Sr.

Andrew Ris, QB6-2, 180, Jr.

Matt Robison RB/WR/S 6-2, 180, Jr.

Messiah West OT/DE6-0, 195, Sr.

About the Seahawks: Carey should be more athletic and versatile than last year, despite having a slew of newcomers in many of the skill positions. Ris returns as quarterback behind a potent O-line, but, other than Robison, will have to navigate the relative inexperience of his wide receivers and running backs.

ELMONT SPARTANS (6-4)

Coach: Jay Hegi, 11th season

Key players

Calvin Aristide RB/CB 5-8, 170, Sr.

Jaelen Morris WR/CB 5-9, 170, Sr.

Daniel Crawford WR/LB 5-11, 150, Sr.

Paul Jean WR/S 5-9, 165, Sr.

Jon Johnson G/DE 6-0, 220, Sr.

Reginald Pierre WR/CB 5-9, 145, Sr.

About the Spartans: Elmont is a quick, intelligent team, led by Aristide, a sprinter and natural athlete who can catch up to most targets out of the cornerback position. He and Morris will have a bulk of the responsibility in the Spartans' new spread offense, particularly with a still-maturing line and a new quarterback.

MACARTHUR GENERALS (7-2)

Coach: Bobby Fehrenbach, 14th season

Key players

Thomas Kelleher RB/WR/DB6-2, 200, Sr.

Gerard Cunningham QB 6-0, 190, Sr.

Joey Tangredi RB/LB 6-0, 180, Sr.

Anthony DeNunxio OL/DL 6-3, 220, Sr.

Nick Cuciti OL/DL 6-4, 215, Jr.

James Knoebel, RB/LB 5-9, 150, Jr.

About the Generals: MacArthur moves down to Nassau II this year and hopes to make the most out of a new home behind Kelleher, who leads a pro-set offense after amassing 320 yards with two touchdowns and making 13 catches for 213 yards and a TD last year. The Generals have a returning QB in Cunningham (54-for-89, 775 yards and a TD), while Tangredi (80 tackles) lead the defense.

LONG BEACH MARINES (5-4)

Coach: Scott Martin, fourth season

Key players

Chris Parler WR/DB 5-9, 160, So.

Tariq Cole OL/DL 6-7, 375, Jr.

Matt Firpo RB/LB 5-10, 205, Sr.

Sam Golding TE/DL6-0, 210, Sr.

Adam Salvadori QB/LB 6-0, 205, Sr.

James Forkin RB/DB5-9, 165, Sr.

About the Marines: Long Beach returns a strong defense, led by Cole, an all-conference player whose bruising size and leadership qualities will lead a young line. Parler, who made All-County as a freshman, had 525 yards receiving yards last year with five TDs, he also added two more scores as a kick returner. The Marines will use multiple backs around Salvadori in his first year at QB.

MEPHAM PIRATES (4-4)

Coach: Anthony Cracco, fifth season

Key players

Joe Aliberti OL/LB 6-3, 250, Sr.

Shane Agostino WR/DB 5-8, 175, Sr.

Henry Senatore TE/DE 6-0, 195, Sr.

Chris Gabriel RB/DB 5-6, 150, Jr.

Patrick Receno OL/LB 5-9, 175, Sr

Yianni Hilas WR/DB 6-1, 165, So.

About the Pirates: Mepham has a strong, aggressive, mature defense, led by Aliberti, who tallied 72 tackles and five sacks last year, and Agostino, who added 48 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions. After key injuries in 2011, the Pirates hope to be more consistent and will rely on a more explosive passing attack, courtesy of Agostino and newcomer Tyler Davis, the sophomore QB.

NEW HYDE PARK GLADIATORS (5-4)

Coach: Kevin Dolan, 13th season

Key players

Fran Terrero RB/DB 5-9, 190, Sr.

Josh Lee TE/LB 6-0, 190, Sr.

Nick Perrone QB 5-9, 170, Sr.

Kevin Terrero OL/DL 6-2, 225, Sr.

Tim Foley, WR/DB 5-10, 180, Sr.

About the Gladiators: New Hyde Park returns 12 starters and hopes to build on a year of offseason training. Fran Terrero helps lead the Wing-T offense, coming off a year in which he amassed 11 TDs on 830 yards. The Gladiators are hungry after a taste of the playoffs last year (they lost in the play-in game) and have depth and maturity at the skill positions.

CALHOUN COLTS (3-5)

Coach: Jeffrey Haruthunian, first season

Key players

Scott Halleran FB/LB 6-2, 220, Sr.

Steven Valentino OL/DL 5-9, 220, Sr.

Jack Bennett OL/DL5-11, 265, Sr.

Brandon Lee RB/LB 5-10, 175, Jr.

Zach Mastrangelo RB/DB 6-0, 175, Jr.

Jack Nestola TE/LB 6-1, 195, Sr.

About the Colts: Calhoun has a run-heavy offense that will generally work out of the I formation. Halleran will lead the charge, while Valentino and Bennett helm a strong offensive line. The Colts have a lot of acclimating to do, though, with a new head coach and a new quarterback in junior Brian Downey.

BELLMORE JFK COUGARS (5-4)

Coach: Nick Martone, third season

Key players

Ralph Faiella WR/S 6-0, 165, Sr.

Chris Racalbuto QB 6-0, 160, Sr.

Chris Jones RB/LB 5-10, 165, Sr.

Mike McCormick WR/DB 5-7, 160, Sr.

Tom Ferner RB/LB 5-10, 180, Jr.

Anthony Ciullo DL/OL 6-1, 270, Sr.

About the Cougars: Bellmore possesses a good balance of speed and strength, and has shown an ability to bounce back -- starting last year 0-3 before winning the remainder of its regular-season games to make it to the playoffs. Faiella leads a group of seven standout seniors.

HERRICKS HIGHLANDERS (1-7)

Coach: Mike Yoo, fourth season

Key players

Adrian Kwan QB/DB 5-6, 135, Sr.

Mike Pitre RB/LB5-11, 190, Sr.

Nick Markadakis OL/DL 6-0, 295, Sr.

Ryan Gaitan WR/DB 6-3, 175, Sr.

Austin Stoner WR/DB 6-1, 165, Sr.

Jordan Babajanian RB/LB 5-7, 180, Sr.

About the Highlanders: Herricks returns seven starters and have a number of call-ups from a JV squad that went 7-1 last year. Kwan, an all-conference player, leads the Highlanders' pistol spread offense. Gaitan (19 catches for 142 yards and a TD) and Stoner (23 catches for 135 yards and a TD) should also factor heavily in a team that's much improved from a disappointing and injury-plagued 2011.

WESTBURY GREEN DRAGONS (0-8)

Coach: Charles Savalis, first season

Key players

Raghav Sharma LB/TE 5-8, 170, Sr.

Rayon Scarlett LB/RB 5-10, 200, Sr

Akeem Sherriffe WR/CB 5-7, 150, Sr.

Jaquan Vanterpool DT/OT 6-4, 320, Sr.

Yano St. Preux OG/DE 5-10, 200, Sr.

Steven Alexander FS/WR 6-3, 185, Sr.

About the Green Dragons: They are young in many areas and will rely on newcomer Malique Merchant at quaterback. Merchant, a senior, will be bolstered by Sharma and Scarlett, both track stars who use their speed and versatility on both sides of the ball.

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