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10 things to know about the Long Island high school football playoffs this week

Tyler Martini of Wantagh streaks downfield for a

Tyler Martini of Wantagh streaks downfield for a touchdown against host Plainedge High School on Oct. 23, 2021. Credit: James Escher

1. The return of Riverhead

Biggest surprise this season has got to be the Riverhead Blue Waves. They didn’t play varsity football in two years due to financial issues within the district. Players transferred to other districts and decimated the player pool. The Blue Waves (4-4) returned to the field this fall and qualified for the Suffolk Division I postseason with a 20-12 win over Sachem East in the regular-season finale.

2. Another playoff record for McKee?

Charlie McKee of Oceanside threw for a Nassau playoff-record 539 yards and eight touchdown passes against Farmingdale in a 62-33 semifinal win in 2018. Oceanside is the No. 2 seed this year, and Farmingdale is No. 4, and they could meet again this year in the Conference I playoffs. McKee, the spring 2021 Thorp Award winner, became Nassau’s all-time career passing leader with 8,279 yards this season.

3. Can the rushing record fall?

The most rushing yards in a playoff game is 485 set by Davien Kuinlan of Plainedge against Glen Cove in 2015. Senior halfback Dakim Griffin of Half Hollow Hills East has 1,723 yards rushing and a school-record 29 touchdowns this seaon. He is the one guy who can break this record.

4. How about the receiving record?

Jake Lazzaro of Oceanside had a Nassau playoff-record 309 receiving yards against Farmingdale in 2018. Syosset wide receiver Luca Cutolo, a Newsday All-Long Island first team selection as a junior, is certainly capable of breaking that record. He is a must watch and has been unstoppable for two years.

5. The dominance of No. 1 seeds

The No. 1 seeds have lost a quarterfinal playoff game only once in Long Island history. The top seeds in Nassau are 64-0. Suffolk’s top seeds are 47-1, with the lone loss coming in 2012 when West Islip was beaten by No. 8 West Babylon, 20-19. (Nassau moved to an eight-team playoff in 2004, and Suffolk in 2008.)

6. How good is Garden City?

Garden City is going after its record sixth consecutive Nassau playoff title. They’ve won 25 titles, more than any other school. The Trojans are 8-0 and have yet to be tested this season. The Trojans have scored a Long Island-best 347 points, averaging 43 points per game. Halfback Jack Cascadden has scored 25 touchdowns in 18 quarters of play. Garden City's defense has allowed 20 points this season.

7. Undefeated stars

There are only five undefeated teams left on Long Island: Whitman, Sayville, Garden City, Plainedge and Seaford. They're all 8-0 and have dynamic playmakers to watch. Whitman has strong-armed quarterback Nicholas Bottoni. Sayville has quick defensive back Mack Murtha. Garden City has star halfback Jack Cascadden. Plainedge has the versatile two-way Joe Iadevaio. Seaford relies on halfback James McHugh.

8. Dalers rising

Farmingdale made things very interesting in Nassau Conference I with its 30-28 upset of previously unbeaten Massapequa in the season finale. Sal Posillico scored on a 1-yard run on the final play. The Dalers are in the mix with Massapequa, Oceanside and Syosset for the crown. Coach Buddy Krumenacker is in his 40th year as head coach and has won 13 Nassau titles, including five with Hempstead. The man knows how to win.

9. Five in Suffolk to watch

Five Suffolk players to watch this postseason who can make a difference: Whitman wide receiver Tyriek Mays-McKoy, Bayport-Blue Point all-purpose player Jameson Smith, Ward Melville quarterback Chris Prussen, Northport’s do-it-all JJ Ahlstrand and Floyd halfback Dylan Harris.

10. Five in Nassau to watch

Five Nassau players to watch this postseason who can make a difference: Farmingdale quarterback Kyle Wilson, West Hempstead’s Zadrian Budhoo, Floral Park quarterback Chris Naronis, Glen Cove halfback Anthony Schettino and Wantagh halfback Tyler Martini.

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