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Nassau III football preview: Wantagh looks to repeat

Wantagh quarterback Jake Castellano looks to pass against

Wantagh quarterback Jake Castellano looks to pass against East Islip during the first half of the Long Island Class III football championship at Hofstra University on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Jake Castellano’s comfort with the Wantagh offense has vastly improved – and that’s a scary thing for the other Nassau III football teams. Castellano, the second-year quarterback of the defending Long Island champions, said he needed a full season to master the controls of game plan with a lot of moving parts, and a lot of talent. Now that he has, the sky’s the limit.

“I think last year was a lot at once,” Castellano said. “We run a crazy offense. We can run any formation. A lot of the teams that we play know that. It’s a lot for a first year quarterback to come in and start doing that. This year, everything has slowed down for me. Everything is just easier to dissect. I know the reads. I know when to watch the corner or when to watch the linebacker. It’s a lot simpler for me.”

No matter how experienced the quarterback, handing off to a player like Gavin Casey always helps. Casey, a fullback, rushed for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

As defending champion and top seed in the conference, the Warriors know that they have become the hunted. But, success has bred confidence for this group and they aren’t worried about succumbing to the pressures of past successes.

“We just know who we are,” Castellano said. “We know we should win. We know that, with the talent coming back, that we have the caliber of players to do what we did last year. It’s on us to put the hard work in.”

Leading the charge to knock Wantagh off its perch is Roosevelt, a perennial Nassau powerhouse. Running back Kevon Hall rushed for 1,080 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also made 53 tackles as a linebacker. Wide receiver Farrakhan Anderson made 17 receptions for 476 yards and six touchdowns. He’ll be a big piece in a versatile offense.

Lawrence will be led by running back Chris Collier, who scored 15 touchdowns in five games of an injury-shortened season. Defensive tackle Jeavon Johnson made 43 tackles last season.

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