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Robert Taiani, Floyd football looking to reclaim top spot in Suffolk I

Floyd, the defending Suffolk I champions, took part in a 7-on-7 football competition at Connetquot High School, on Monday July 10, 2017. (Newsday/Owen O'Brien)

The standard of success is abnormally high for the Floyd football team.

Despite winning their 10th county championship since 2001 and making their 17th consecutive playoff appearance, the Floyd football players weren’t completely satisfied after losing the Long Island Class I championship to Freeport, 28-14. The Colonials entered last season ranked No. 5 in Suffolk I, something the players never forgot about.

“Last year we just wanted to come in and prove everyone wrong,” senior quarterback Robert Taiani said. “Obviously we came up short and it’s not how we wanted it to end but I think we did a good job. We proved a lot of people wrong. Going to the LIC, no one thought we were going to do that.”

Floyd finished last season 10-2 and defeated Ward Melville, 28-21, in the Suffolk I championship. This year, Floyd, with only one losing season in the last 20 years, enters as the top-ranked team in Suffolk I.

“I feel like we have to retain the No. 1 spot,” senior wide receiver David DiSanto said. “It’s pretty important to us this year.”

Floyd, which graduated three three-year starters on the offensive line, will look to spread teams out more this season, led by Taiani, who’s coming off a full season as the starting quarterback.

“We did lose a lot of our offensive line, so that’s going to be tough, but it’s always good to have an experienced quarterback,” coach Paul Longo said. “That’s the hardest thing to make sure you have a quarterback that’s in there and can do a good job and the fact he has three years of experience, has been in playoff games, championship games, I think that should help us out.”

Taiani, the 6-3 senior, feels confident this season and looks to take more of a leadership role. He’s also going to be surrounded by strong playmakers, including running backs Nick Silva, who ran for 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns last season, and the big-play ability of James Taitt. Taiani will utilize DiSanto and Brandon Zack at receiver and junior Keith Winfrey returns on the defensive line.

“Last year we ran a lot,” DiSanto said. “This year we have a lot of skill guys that return for the pass game and we’re going to get the pass game going this year.”

With the top preseason ranking, Floyd won’t have an easy start to the season. After a Week 1 bye, the Colonials open at Sachem North, Connetquot and Ward Melville in the first three games. And as Floyd eyes another playoff appearance, county title and potentially its first Long Island Championship since 2012, Longo and the team doesn’t forget the feeling of winning a title, but losing the final game of the season last year.

“That’s the tough thing as a coach,” Longo said. “You have to motivate them for that because we did win last year, we played great, we were kind of the underdog coming in and we ended up winning the county championship. The bottom line is you have to stay hungry. It’s a tough league.”

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