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Nassau II football: No clear front-runner atop conference

Garden City running back Jamie Atkinson races downfield

Garden City running back Jamie Atkinson races downfield during the third quarter of a Nassau II football game against Manhasset at Garden City High School on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Credit: James Escher

Perennial powerhouses and a relative newcomer highlight Nassau II, a conference without a clear front-runner.

MacArthur, Garden City and Carey are seemingly always near the top of the standings while Mepham has a chance at breaking up the monotony.

The conference’s top seed, MacArthur has lost significant talent but is geared for a reload. Junior Kyle Acquavella will step in at quarterback, with senior receiver Mike Manfredo helping to ease his transition from junior varsity.

Acquavella will be protected returning All-Long Island first team member Ryan O’Shea, who anchors a solid offensive line.

Not even an inevitable learning curve will keep the Generals down.

Second-seeded Garden City, still smarting from its loss to Wantagh in the county semifinals, is motivated.

Much of the talent returns, especially in the secondary and on the offensive line. Jamie Atkinson and Chris Mixon are weapons as defensive backs as well as offensive playmakers.

Lineman Chris Curcina and Erik Wortman will pave the way for a successful offense. Mixon and junior runner Andrew DeSantis could take advantage of their size and strength, capitalizing on running room.

A balanced attack will keep Garden City in the hunt for the top spot.

At Carey, TE/WR Joseph Randazzo, WR Tyler Demeo and RB Zach Dente are ready to step up for senior Dan Conte, the new starting quarterback.

Conte can make the throws necessary to command the offense, while a strong defense will step up in support. The defense could anchor the team early on given its overall depth.

With coach Mike Stanley’s winning tradition, you shouldn’t count out the Seahawks.

Led by running back Mike Valentino, fourth-seeded Mepham could surprise. Second-year quarterback Mike Proios now has a better command of an offense with explosive options like Valentino, Jeremy Lissade and Tristan Saade.

An offense capable of running up a ton of points is always scary.

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