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Nassau football championships preview: Rob Blount, Oceanside prepare for Massapequa in rare home title game

Oceanside's Nick Ebel (23) celebrates his second touchdown

Oceanside's Nick Ebel (23) celebrates his second touchdown of the game with Michael Mecca during a Nassau Conference I football game against Massapequa in Oceanside on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Rob Blount is on double duty these days. The Oceanside coach is working two-a-days this week as the Sailors prepare to host the Nassau Conference I football championship against Massapequa Saturday at noon.

Blount, who is the head coach for the football and boys lacrosse programs at Oceanside, is practicing for the county title in football and opening day in lacrosse.

"It’s definitely an interesting week," Blount laughed. "We’re going day by day and keeping everyone healthy, communicating with coaches in all sports and making everyone available to get the work in. We get our football done and then we grab our sticks and go to lacrosse practice. Long days man, but it’s great to be out here."

Spring sports in Nassau started April 22 and the football teams that advanced into the county title games have overlapped the spring season by two weeks.

"It’s exciting to be in the championship and playing at home," Blount said. "It’s definitely special to play in front of the home crowd."

For the first time since 1984, districts will host championship football games. Nassau playoffs had been hosted by Hofstra University for the past 37 years.

"I wasn’t even born yet," said Blount, who is 36. "We expect a great back and forth game with Massapequa. We have a lot of respect for those guys. We got out to an early lead the last time we met and tried to take the air out of the ball, but they came back and made it close."

Oceanside (7-0) outscored Massapequa, 42-34, in the regular season. Junior quarterback Charlie McKee has thrown 16 touchdowns and rushed for 503 yards and 11 more scores.

"We did an outstanding job on controlling the line the last time," Blount said. "And we’ll have to match their intensity and do that again to win the game."

Massapequa (6-1) has an exciting offense led by quarterback John Giller, who creates scoring opportunities with his legs and an electric back in Tim Morrow. Massapequa hasn’t won a Nassau crown since it earned back-to-back titles in 1993-94.

Nassau Conference IV final

Wantagh (4-1) at North Shore (7-0), Saturday, 2 p.m.: For Wantagh to win here they need to stop North Shore senior halfback Phil LaRosa, who has 776 yards and 17 touchdowns. In the first meeting, North Shore prevailed, 26-12, converting on key fourth-down plays. Junior quarterback Dan Quigley has been the big surprise for the Vikings, rushing for 495 yards and passing for 322 yards for 13 total TDs.

"We play a tremendous program with a lot of tradition," said North Shore coach Dan Agovino. "We’re playing at home and that’s like playing in your elementary schoolyard - only this time it’s for the hardware. We’ve been talking about it all week."

Agovino and Wantagh coach Keith Sachs are also working double duty these past two weeks. Agovino also coaches girls lacrosse at MacArthur and heads there every day after football practice.

Sachs is trying to get Wantagh ready while beginning practice with one of Long Island’s storied baseball programs.

"We didn’t deserve to beat North Shore the first game," he said. "They were the better team."

The Wantagh offense centers around junior halfback Tyler Martini and the defense is anchored by junior middle linebacker Liam Casey, averaging 16 tackles per game.

Nassau Conference II final

MacArthur (6-0) at Garden City (5-0), Saturday, 2 p.m.: Garden City won, 34-29, during the regular season. The Trojans can win again if they stop halfback Ryan Isom, who has five games of 200 or more yards rushing this season. The Trojans offense has not been stopped with quarterback Luke Schmitt and halfback Pierce Archer and Jack Cascadden.

Nassau Conference III final

Plainedge (7-1) at Manhasset (7-0), Saturday, 1 p.m.: Manhasset beat the defending champions during the season, 13-7, in a defensive battle that held both teams to their lowest scoring output. Manhasset halfback Aidan Mulholland has been outstanding and hopes to lead them to their first county title since 1996.

Playoff picks

GREGG SARRA (63-15)

Oceanside

Garden City

Manhasset

Wantagh

ROGER RUBIN (62-16)

Oceanside

Garden City

Plainedge

North Shore

Saturday Schedule

Nassau Conference I: Massapequa at Oceanside, noon

Nassau Conference II: MacArthur at Garden City, 2 p.m.

Nassau Conference III: Plainedge at Manhasset, 1 p.m.

Nassau Conference IV: Wantagh at North Shore, 2 p.m.

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