Jump the hump.
That's the buzz phrase going around the locker room of No. 2 Oceanside. Coach Rob Blount used it. Starting quarterback Vinny Guarino used it. It's a reference to the Sailors' inability, despite several recent outstanding seasons, to reach the county championship game. "This is the year to jump the hump," Guarino said. "We've got a lot of guys returning."
But so does top seed and two-time defending county champion Farmingdale. The Dalers have their own hump to jump. On their notorious Green Monster -- the wall that lists the school's numerous Big 4, county and Long Island championships as well as Rutgers Cups -- their hasn't been a new addition to the LIC box since 2001.
"We're definitely motivated to fill that box," two-way lineman Jack Keller said.
It's unfinished family business according to senior running back/defensive end Keyshawn Petit-Frere. His brother Kevin starred on the 2012 team that lost in the LIC to Floyd, and he was a member of last year's team that lost a tense LIC to Sachem North.
"My brother and I both lost in the LIC, so I'm very motivated to finally win it," said Petit-Frere, a disruptive force as an edge rusher.
Nassau I should be very competitive. In close games, give the edge to Farmingdale because of place-kicker Zach Kolodny, a possible Division I recruit whose field goal on the last play of the game ousted Massapequa in the county final. Oceanside's spread offense, piloted by Guarino, often overshadows a defense led by returning all-county defensive end Kyone Murphy. "Everyone talks about our offense. They do score a lot, but our defense can get to the quarterback and make him uncomfortable," Murphy said.
No. 3 Syosset returns most of its defensive front seven, led by end David Reiter and linebacker E.J. Aronson. No. 4 Freeport should be dangerous because of explosive running back D'Monte Woody. No. 5 Massapequa will rely on Piner Award runner-up Paul Dilena, a powerful running back/linebacker and team leader. No. 6 MacArthur, which moves up from Nassau II, features junior quarterback Jimmy Kelleher and a deep receiving corps.