Nicholas La Rosa of North Shore finds an opening and runs...

Nicholas La Rosa of North Shore finds an opening and runs for a 12-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter of a Nassau Conference IV football game against host Clarke on Saturday. Credit: James Escher

The journey toward the Nassau Conference IV title could be an intriguing one this season with some familiar teams at the top vying for the crown.

Defending champion North Shore, which also went on to win the Long Island Class IV championship with a 7-0 victory over Shoreham-Wading River last season for its first Long Island crown in program history, got off to a slow 2-2 start last season, but bounced back in the biggest way with eight consecutive victories the rest of the way.

The Vikings return a pair integral seniors in their quest for a second consecutive county championship in running back/outside linebacker Nicholas La Rosa and quarterback/safety Peter Liotta. 

La Rosa had 864 yards, 147 receiving yards and 16 total touchdowns last season, including 15 carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the county final, which North Shore won over Cold Spring Harbor with a go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown, 21-14. Liotta displayed quite the playmaking ability last season, passing for 325 yards and five touchdowns, but also rushing for 639 yards and six touchdowns on 81 carries. He also returned a punt for a touchdown.

After going 7-4 last season, the Seahawks have their sights set on making a return to the county championship game. The play of senior quarterback/defensive back CJ Reilly, who ran for 330 yards and nine touchdowns, while passing for 499 yards and four touchdowns, will be key for Cold Spring Harbor’s title hopes.

Seaford, which suffered its only loss of 2021 in the semifinals against Cold Spring Harbor, will also look to be one of the top contenders in the conference. Senior quarterback Sean Costello returns to run the offense for the Vikings and junior tight end/linebacker Devin O’Donnell is also expected to play a major role after recording 31 tackles and five sacks last season.

Another county semifinalist from last year, Clarke, could be in the mix again with the return of senior running back/defensive back Justin Somyak, who had 51 carries for 376 yards and six touchdowns last year.

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