James Napoli of MacArthur dives over Mepham's Dominick Novello and...

James Napoli of MacArthur dives over Mepham's Dominick Novello and into the end zone during a Nassau Conference II football game on October 2, 2021. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

MUST-SEE GAMES

Sept. 17, MacArthur at Mepham, 2 p.m.: That’s the Pirates’ first chance at some revenge for how last season ended. Mepham controlled the majority of the Nassau Conference II semifinal and outgained MacArthur in total yards, 356-194. But a MacArthur touchdown and two-point conversion with 2:19 left in the fourth quarter ended Mepham’s season, 21-18. That score has haunted the Pirates ever since.

Sept. 10, Bellmore JFK at Roslyn/Friends Academy at Roslyn High School, 2 p.m.: This may not seem like the most exciting matchup after looking at last year’s records and their seeding. But this may be Roslyn's best chance for its first victory since 2016, according to Newsday records. Last year was Roslyn’s first season with a football program since 2017. Led by the playmaking skills of Dylan Goodman, the Bulldogs look to compete in 2022.

Oct. 29, Calhoun at Long Beach, 2 p.m.: This matchup in the final week of the regular season could have major playoff implications on the line. Both programs figure to be in the playoff mix and it’s possible this could be a “winner gets in” type of matchup. Or even if both teams have a playoff spot secured, it could have big seeding implications. Both teams have playmaking quarterbacks in Jeff Conway (Long Beach) and Joey Goodman (Calhoun) in this entertaining matchup.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Former Mepham standout Tyler Davis was selected in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Jaguars. Davis started at quarterback for Mepham from 2012-14, but moved to tight end in college and played 36 games over three seasons at UConn before playing at Georgia Tech for his senior year. He is currently on the Packers and had four receptions for 35 yards last season.

GOOD VENUE

MacArthur High School also has one of the best student turnouts in Nassau County. Especially when they host a night game under the lights with the view of a busy Wantagh Avenue in the background, it can truly add to that Friday Night Lights feel. One of the best turnovers and overall events MacArthur puts together is the “Pink Out” game for breast cancer awareness and to raise money for cancer research. It often draws a bigger crowd than homecoming.

GREAT MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT

The Roslyn marching band plays an integral part in making homecoming a can’t-miss event. The band, comprised of nearly 200 members, practices on the football field every Wednesday and includes a color guard, extensive drummers and always puts on an entertaining performance.

WHAT A CHARACTER

The Garden City Trojan has been with the team every step of its dominant run for the last six seasons. The mascot, dressed as a Trojan, helps bring the energy out of the crowd and onto the field. People certainly come to Garden City games for the great action on the field, but an entertaining mascot never hurts.

COACHING SPOTLIGHT

Matthew Moody takes over as Mepham head coach after being the defensive coordinator the last two seasons and a part of the program since 2017. He takes over for Anthony Cracco, who served as head coach for 14 seasons.

Moody leads a talented team, looking to play in its first county final since 2017 and win its first crown in program history. He coached many of this year’s players as the head junior varsity coach before becoming the varsity defensive coordinator.

“I’m extremely excited,” Moody said. “We have a special group of kids and I’ve been their coach the last four years … It’s so exciting to see the continuation of the great success the program has had and to be able to put a little bit of a stamp on a school and an area I call home and I love so much.”

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