The road to the public school Long Island Championships begins this weekend with 32 first-round playoff games, including two rematches of thrillers played just last week, Oceanside vs. Massapequa (the Sailors won at home, 31-27, but now go on the road) and Long Beach vs. MacArthur (the Generals won at home, 27-20, and will be the hosts again). The NYCHSFL playoffs also begin with three quarterfinal games involving Long Island schools.
Of the four defending Long Island champs, all from Suffolk, only Sayville, riding a 20-game winning streak, earned a No. 1 seed, in Division III. Longwood is the No. 3 seed in Division I, Newfield is the No. 6 seed in Division II and Shoreham-Wading River, which has won two straight L.I. crowns, is seeded No. 2 in Division IV.
No. 5 Oceanside (4-4) at No. 4 Massapequa (6-2), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Tommy Heuer threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns, both to Derek Cruz, in the Sailors’ home win over the Chiefs last Saturday. Kenny Galvin-to-Owen Glasgow is a dangerous combination for Massapequa, which averages 34 ppg, and gets the rematch at home.
No. 5 Long Beach (5-3) at No. 4 MacArthur (5-3), Friday, 7 p.m.: Brian Mondella saved the Generals last week with an end-zone pick with 30 seconds left. MacArthur again must contain the Marines’ Sam Brown (1,521 passing yards) and Vincent Deal (514 receiving yards).
No. 6 Mepham (4-4) at No. 3 Elmont (6-2), Saturday, 2 p.m.: It took a triple-reverse two-point conversion play for the Spartans to win the regular-season meeting, 35-33, on Oct. 22. Elmont’s Aaron Ruthman leads Nassau with 2,209 passing yards. Chester Anderson (719 yards) and Lucas Mathieu (591) are speedy targets. Mepham’s Mike Valentino (1,124 yards rushing, 18 TDs) is hard to bring down.
No. 5 Plainedge (4-4) at No. 4 Bethpage (4-4), Friday, 6 p.m.: The Golden Eagles won, 27-21, on Oct. 1 and this one figures to be close as well, with two teams that like to run. Jake Esposito has rushed for 505 yards for the Red Devils.
No. 5 Malverne (6-2) at No. 4 North Shore (5-3), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: The Mules must stop Ryan Aughavin (1,218 yards), one of the top runners in Nassau. He gained 196 yards in North Shore’s 21-20 win on Oct. 21 that wasn’t secured until a late defensive stop on a two-point conversion try.
No. 5 Ward Melville (4-4) at No. 4 Connetquot (5-3), Saturday, 2 p.m.: The Patriots walloped the Thunderbirds, 35-7, on Oct. 21. But Dylan McDermott (916 yards) has emerged as a passing threat for Connetquot, which must contend with John Corpac, who returned two kickoffs for touchdowns last week.
No. 5 Huntington (5-3) at No. 4 Bellport (7-1), Saturday, 2 p.m.: These teams did not meet during the season. Bellport’s turnaround season has been sparked by Jimmy Morrell, a two-way QB who has passed for 970 yards and 13 TDs and rushed for 626 and 11 scores.
No. 5 Rocky Point (6-2) at No. 4 Kings Park (5-3), Saturday, 2 p.m.: They did not meet in the regular season. Kings Park’s Paul Cooper is a big-time passer with 1,523 yards and 14 TDs. Sean McGovern leads Rocky Point with 765 rushing yards.
No. 5 Mount Sinai (5-3) at No. 4 Glenn (6-2), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Glenn won, 34-20, on opening day. The Knights’ defense might be the difference in this one. They allow only 10.8 ppg.
BOB HERZOG (57-23)
GREGG SARRA (55-25)
St. John the Baptist
ANDY SLAWSON (55-25)
32 Dylan Laube, Westhampton
27 Chris Gray, Shoreham-Wading River
25 Tyler Ammirato, Miller Place
22 Jordan McLune, Farmingdale
21 Brandon Sobotker, North Babylon
21 Umari Taylor, Holy Trinity
18 Mike Valentino, Mepham
18 Mike Valentino, Mepham
17 Christian Flowers, Wyandanch
17 Chris Mixon, Garden City
1,798 Dylan Laube, Westhampton
1,648 Danny Roell, Seaford
1,595 Umari Taylor, Holy Trinity
1,405 Brandon Sobotker, North Babylon
1,385 Chris Gray, Shoreham-WR
1,235 Christian Flowers, Wyandanch
1,218 Ryan Aughavin, North Shore
1,170 Deyvon Wright, Half Hollow Hills West
1,136 Corey Bull, Roosevelt
1,124 Mike Valentino, Mepham
2,209 Aaron Ruthman, Elmont
2,137 Ryan Sheridan, Commack
1,670 Jack Coan, Sayville
1,523 Paul Cooper, Kings Park
1,521 Sam Brown, Long Beach
1,417 Michael Proios, Mepham
1,379 Austin Perri, Lindenhurst
1,307 Dan Codispoti, Patchogue-Medford
1,246 Wes Manning, Ward Melville
1,080 Alexander Odle, Wyandanch
859 Ronnie Beard, Commack
719 Chester Anderson, Elmont
690 Jeremy Ruckert, Lindenhurst
676 Mike Saleme, Herricks
643 Tyler DeMeo, Carey
635 Kevin Gerbeck, Miller Place
629 Christian Flowers, Wyandanch
591 Lucas Mathieu, Elmont
514 Vincent Deal, Long Beach
511 Kevin Murphy, Seaford
— Andy Slawson