"I'm not afraid, to take a stand. Everybody, come take my hand." — "Not Afraid" by Eminem.
With just one week left in the regular season, teams must put away their fears.
Some need a win in Week 8 to make the postseason, others are fighting for a home game in Round 1, while a select few are battling for the regular-season crown and the top seed.
Oceanside, which has been in the penthouse of these rankings since Week 3, is in that final category, as the Sailors will take on Freeport on Saturday with the top seed in Conference I on the line. Oceanside and Carey, the top team in Conference II, are looking to make history, because those programs haven't won county titles since the late 1970s.
So while the first seven weeks of the season are important, the next four will determine the four teams lucky enough to compete for a Long Island Championship on Thanksgiving weekend.
It's time to put fear aside, so this week's song, "Not Afraid" by Eminem, is dedicated to the contenders, those who can't allow fear to get the best of them as the games grow more important.
For the fifth straight week we're kicking it "Bottom 10" style, courtesy of Eminem.
Three of these teams (Oceanside, which moved up four spots to No. 12, Freeport, which remains at No. 19, and Carey, which moved up one slot to No. 23) were worthy of entrance into this week's MSG Varsity tri-state football poll. None, even the undefeated Sailors, have garnered acceptance into Gregg Sarra's Big 10. Oceanside remains in the "outside looking in" category.
The Sailors, the top scoring team on Long Island with 290 points (41.4 per game), are one of three undefeated teams remaining in Nassau (Carey and Seaford are the others). Both Lynbrook and Roosevelt were knocked from those ranks this past weekend. More on them below.
But without further ado, let's check out this week's Nassau top 10, Eminem style...
1. Oceanside (7-0, Conference I): "His gift is a curse..." Coach Rob Blount was given the gift of athletes with the 2010 Sailors, but not much is left to surprise when they come to town. Everyone, including Freeport, knows they like to spread the field and let Tyler Heuer whip the ball around. On Saturday, Uniondale saw their offense up close in the Sailors' 34-14 win at home. Heuer was 15-for-18 for 282 yards with five touchdowns and an INT. He now has 27 passing TDs on the season, three shy of the Nassau single-season record. Gene Garay caught eight passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns.
Up next: At Freeport (6-1), No. 3 on this list, at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in a game that will decide the top seed in the Conference I playoffs.
2. Carey (7-0, Conference II): "I don't know how, I'm way too rough to back down..." The Seahawks are getting rough on the defensive side of the ball. On Saturday, they pitched their third shutout of the season in a 35-0 drubbing of host Mepham, which came into the game at 5-1. Kyle Zahradka (pictured above) was 12-for-23 for 167 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, and linebacker Tom Opitz made a team-high seven tackles. To see highlights of this game courtesy of MSG Varsity, click here.
Up next: Vs. Elmont (5-2) at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
3. Freeport (6-1, Conference I): "You said you was the king, you lied through your teeth..." The two-time defending county champs aren't going to let Oceanside take the top spot in Conference I lying down. They believe they're still the kings. On Saturday, the Red Devils hung on for a 41-35 win at MacArthur behind three rushing touchdowns from QB Isaiah Barnes. It was Freeport's fourth straight game scoring 41 points. Maurice Irby scored on a 9-yard run to make it 41-21 with 3:58 left in the third quarter. MacArthur scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to make it interesting. Dan Olivier rushed for 189 yards on 15 carries, and Irby finished with 75 yards and two TDs on 12 carries. Barnes ran for 60 yards and threw for another 78.
Up next: Vs. Oceanside (7-0), No. 1 on this list, at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. After this past Saturday's game, Freeport coach Russ Cellan called it "the biggest game Oceanside has played in quite some time." Game on.
4. Seaford (7-0, Conference IV): "I'm standing up, I'ma face my demons..." The Vikings faced their demons in the form of Roosevelt on Friday night. With their stars banged up, backup QB Chris Trotta, making his first varsity start, was 6-for-11 for 131 yards and three first-half TDs in a 21-20 win over the Rough Riders. Roosevelt answered with three second-half touchdowns, but Joe Richards intercepted a two-point conversion pass after the last score to preserve the one-point win. The game, which Seaford coach Rob Perpall called "the best win in Seaford history," was the Vikings' 19th straight and 39th in a row against Conference IV opponents. To watch MSG Varsity highlights of the game, click here.
Up next: At Clarke (4-3) at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
5. Garden City (6-1, Conference II): "I'm manning up, I'ma hold my ground..." The Trojans' defense has been holding its ground lately. On Saturday, Garden City was on its way to a third straight shutout before two late Wantagh touchdowns in a 31-14 victory on Homecoming. Liam Kennedy, Matt Confort and Devin Dwyer each had interceptions, while Stephen Jahelka rushed for 81 yards and two scores on 18 carries. Patric Berkery ran for 87 yards and a touchdown, and caught two passes for 35 yards. Ryan Norton was 4-for-4 on extra points and hit a 27-yard field goal.
Up next: At Bellmore JFK (2-5) at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
6. Lynbrook (6-1, Conference III): "And to the fans, I'll never let you down again, I'm back..." The Owls' undefeated season ended with a 23-22 defeat at Lawrence on Saturday afternoon. But they've vowed to themselves and to their fans not to go down again, and they can assure themselves the top seed throughout the playoffs with a win this week. On Saturday, Paul Magloire threw for a touchdown, ran for another and scored on a two-point conversion to close Lawrence's lead to one. But it wasn't enough. To watch MSG Varsity highlights of the game, click here. The game can be seen in its entirety on MSG Varsity, iO channel 14 (714 in HD), tonight at 7 p.m.
Up next: At Sewanhaka (6-1), No. 10 on this list, at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
7. Roosevelt (6-1, Conference IV): "Holla if you feel like you've been down the same road..." Seaford ended the Rough Riders' bid for a perfect season for the third straight year on Friday, beating them by a score of 21-20. Donte Colter rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns, including a fourth-quarter score that brought Roosevelt within a point, but it wasn't enough. Luckily for the Rough Riders, they should get another crack at Seaford in the county title game in four weeks. To watch MSG Varsity highlights of the game, click here.
Up next: At Locust Valley (2-5) at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
8. Farmingdale (5-2, Conference I): "And I just can't keep living this way..." What way can't the Dalers live? As the third place team in the conference — and they're fighting like hell to get back on top. On Friday night (as seen live on MSG Varsity), Farmingdale earned a 34-6 win at home over Syosset. Sal Tuttle threw three TD passes, while Kevin Wahl rushed for another two.
Up next: At Massapequa (4-3) at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
9. Lawrence (5-2, Conference III): "Just lettin' you know that you're not alone..." The Golden Tornado let the rest of Conference III's elite teams know that they've got company in a 23-22 win over previously undefeated Lynbrook at home on Saturday. Marcos Pinto's 35-yard field goal gave Lawrence a 23-14 third-quarter lead, and they hung on for the win. Samson Bialostok was 13-for-18 for 280 yards and two touchdowns, while Ryan Fredericks ran for 130 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He also caught two passes for 30 yards, and made an interception on defense. To watch MSG Varsity highlights of the game, click here. The game can be seen in its entirety on MSG Varsity, iO channel 14 (714 in HD), tonight at 7 p.m.
Up next: At Division (1-6) at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
10. Sewanhaka (6-1, Conference III): "So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage..." What cage were the Indians in? The one preventing them from joining Conference III's elite teams. But they broke out of it with a 46-21 win over visiting Manhasset on Saturday behind Brian Wint's 201 yards and five touchdowns on 11 carries. Sewanhaka had three backs rush for 100+ yards for the second straight week. Shireem Cobb had 128 yards and a TD on 13 carries, and Keenan Woods had eight carries for 100 yards and a score. To see MSG Varsity highlights of this game, click here.
Up next: Vs. Lynbrook (6-1), No. 6 on this list, at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.