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Quarterfinal round Nassau games to watch

Sewanhaka's Shireem Cobb with cutback run in win

Sewanhaka's Shireem Cobb with cutback run in win over Hewlett. (Oct. 16, 2010) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Every week you loyal bloggers come out to read about the best games Nassau County has to offer. But every game in the postseason is a good one! Well, at least the vast majority are.

So this week, I'm going on upset alert. In today's paper, Gregg Sarra, Andy Slawson, Bob Herzog, MSG Varsity's Carl Reuter and myself picked all 34 playoff games on the Island this weekend (16 Nassau, 16 Suffolk, two CHSFL). Below, I'm giving you the five upsets I picked in Nassau and why (sorry Conference II, I went all chalk there).

A No. 8 seed has never upset a No. 1 seed since the quarterfinal round was adopted in 2004. And before last season, only one No. 7 seed had earned an upset. I picked an 8 over 1 upset — but it was in Suffolk County — West Islip over East Islip.

(Full disclosure: I played football at West Islip, but that's certainly not the reason why I picked the Lions. I chose them after thorough inspection of last week's game tape.)

Anyway, let's get to my (potential) upset specials. For more on the playoffs from Gregg Sarra and the High School Football blog's very own Bob Herzog, click here. And to hear Gregg and Andy Slawson make picks on five games, click here.

Finally, for more on the 4 vs. 5 seeds in every class on the Island from Mr. Herzog, click here.

Conference I:

No. 6 MacArthur (5-3) at No. 3 Farmingdale (6-2), Friday at 6:30 p.m. — I'll be on hand for this one later tonight, so all you Farmingdale fans can jump on me (not literally) right away if the Dalers win. When these two teams met in the season-opener, Farmingdale trailed 13-0 and 20-6 before eventually winning 31-26. Obviously the teams have evolved over the course of the season, but their bread-and-butter remains the same — and it's very similar for both teams. For Farmingdale, it's give the ball to Kevin Wahl and sprinkle in some runs and passes for QB Sal Tuttle, and for the Generals, it's give the ball to Brett Ellers and Nick Meadows and sprinkle in some runs and passes for QB Kevin Monahan. A great matchup to watch will be Wahl against MacArthur's standout linebacker Tom Joyce. This one will be fun.

*I was the only brave soul to pick MacArthur.

Conference III:

No. 5 Hewlett (6-2) at No. 4 Sewanhaka (6-2), Saturday at 3 p.m. — The Indians' defense held the third highest scoring team in the county to a season-low 14 points in a 20-14 win at Hewlett in Week 6. But the Bulldogs have gotten back on track behind quarterback Alex Kahn and running backs Sam Martorella and Mark Rizzo. The problem for Hewlett will be time of possession because its defense, despite allowing seven points or fewer in all six of its wins, was vulnerable to the run in its two losses. Sewanhaka has a spectacular rushing attack of Shireem Cobb (pictured above), Brian Wint and Keenan Woods, who all ran for over 100 yards in the win at Hewlett.

*Mr. Slawson and Mr. Reuter also went with Hewlett.

No. 6 Plainedge (4-4) at No. 3 Bethpage (6-2), Saturday at 3 p.m. — This isn't your typical 3 vs. 6 matchup either, which makes sense in the topsy-turvy Conference III layout. The Red Devils were 4-2 just a few weeks ago and had a signature win over Lawrence in Week 5. But they finished the season losing two straight, including a 27-20 decision against Bethpage two weeks ago. Plainedge led 7-0, 14-7 and 20-14 before the Golden Eagles scored the last two TDs of the game. Bethpage, which has won four straight, was beset by injuries earlier this season, but is fully healthy now. 

*Mr. Sarra and Mr. Herzog also went with Plainedge.

Conference IV:

No. 6 Floral Park (5-3) at No. 3 East Rockaway (6-2), Saturday at 3 p.m. — This game was the most popular upset pick among our group, as only Mr. Slawson went with the Rocks. East Rockaway earned a 21-17 win over the Knights in the season-opener, but trailed 17-14 before scoring the game-winner in the fourth quarter. Floral Park's only other two losses were in overtime to Conference IV juggernauts Seaford and Roosevelt, which impressed many observers. They rely on 1,000-yard rusher Ronell Jones to do the heavy lifting, while East Rockaway counters Mike Castellano and Anthony Tesoriero.

No. 5 North Shore (4-4) at No. 4 Clarke (4-4), Saturday at 3 p.m. — Round 1 in this battle went to North Shore 27-15 in the season-opener. The Vikings led 20-0 after the first quarter and Clarke only put up its 15 points after trailing 27-0 in the fourth. If North Shore hadn't lost a heartbreaker to Mineola in Week 3, these seed would be reversed. It's hard to imagine Clarke will be able to stop Evan Vandoros, and the Rams simply don't have the offensive firepower to keep up.

*Mr. Sarra and Mr. Herzog also went with North Shore.


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