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Suffolk Division II team-by-team football preview

William Ruckert of Lindenhurst poses for a portrait

William Ruckert of Lindenhurst poses for a portrait during the Newsday Varsity Football Season Preview Photo Shoot on Wednesday, August 21, 2019. Credit: James Escher

1. LINDENHURST BULLDOGS

2018 record: 9-3

Coach: Nick Lombardo, 11th season

KEY PLAYERS

Will Ruckert, OL/DL, 6-1, 240, Sr.; Olasunkonmi Agunloye, OL/DL, 6-6, 240, Sr.; Jeff Perez, OL/DL, 5-10, 230, Sr.; Jack Hogan, RB/LB, 6-0, 215, Sr.; Jack Winey, RB/LB, 5-11, 220, Jr.; Jaden Barber, RB/SS, 6-1, 185, Sr.

ABOUT THE BULLDOGS:

Coming off a Suffolk Division II championship and loss to Garden City in the Long Island championship. The defense returns eight players, including Ruckert, who led the team with 13 sacks. Barber will receive the majority of carries and is also a hard-hitting safety.

2. WEST ISLIP LIONS

2018 record: 10-1

Coach: Steve Mileti, 11th season

KEY PLAYERS

Kyle Haff, LB/TB, 5-9, 215, Sr.; Dominic Sagginario,TB/LB, 5-10, 185, Sr.; Will Reichel, OG/DT, 6-3, 230, Sr.; Bobby DiCapua, DE/TE, 6-0, 180, Sr.; Paul Monserrat, NT/ LB, 5-8, 220, Sr.; Joe Costantino,FS/TB, 5-8, 165, Jr.

ABOUT THE LIONS

Coming off a loss in the Suffolk Division II championship to Lindenhurst. Haff will be a three-year starter at linebacker, who has led the team in tackles in both of the last two seasons. DiCapua is also one of the top kickers in school history.

3. CONNETQUOT THUNDERBIRDS

2018 record: 6-3

Coach: Mike Hansen, 17th season

KEY PLAYERS

Cole Bunicci, WR/SS, 6-5, 225, Sr.; Drew Guttieri, QB, 6-3, 215, Sr.; Sean Schaller, OL/DL, 6-0, 280, Sr.; Jack McCarthy, TE/LB, 6-3, 230, Sr.; Tyler Cordes, RB/FS, 5-10, 195, Sr.; James Mastro, WR/C, 5-11, 175, Sr.

ABOUT THE THUNDERBIRDS

First year in Suffolk Division II. Guttieri, who will play collegiately at Stony Brook, is a huge threat to run the ball. Bunicci is the go-to option in both the running and passing games. Mastro, who Hansen said is the fastest player on the team, will be a major deep threat.  

4. CENTEREACH COUGARS

2018 record: 6-4

Coach: Adam Barrett, sixth season

KEY PLAYERS

Matt Robbert, WR/DE, 6-4, 220, Sr.; Josh Ackerler, OL/DE, 6-4, 240, Sr.; Liam Webber, WR/DB, 5-11, 185, Sr.; Zach Hogan, OL/DL, 6-1, 260, Sr.; Eric Harrington, RB/LB, 5-11, 205, Sr. Pat Stoss, RB/LB, 6-1, 210, Sr.

ABOUT THE COUGARS

Coming off loss to Lindenhurst in the Suffolk Division II semifinals. Ackerler made 52 tackles, including 10 sacks, last season. Webber scored seven touchdowns and made 27 tackles, and Harrington ran for 904 yards.  

5. BELLPORT CLIPPERS

2018 record: 5-4

Coach: Jamie Fabian, second season

KEY PLAYERS

Ka’Shaun Parrish, QB/DB, 5-11, 175, Jr.; Carter Vandekieft, OL/DE, 6-4,225, Sr.; Jhamari Bell, RB/DB, 6-0, 180, Jr.; David Hartmann, OL/DL, 6-1, 250, Jr.; Connor Coleman, TE/DE, 6-1, 185, Sr.; Bobby DeSantis, WR/LB, 5-9, 165, Jr.

ABOUT THE CLIPPERS

Parrish rushed for 12 touchdowns, passed for six, and gained 1,428 all-purpose yards last season. Vandekieft made 41 tackles, including 21 solo stops, and had two sacks. Bell rushed for five touchdowns and made 21 tackles.

6. NORTHPORT TIGERS

2018 record: 6-3

Coach: Pat Campbell, second season

KEY PLAYERS

Tom Lauinger, RB/DB, 6-2, 185, Sr.; Jackson Armstrong, OL/DL, 6-1, 225, Sr.; Sean Jeffrey, WR/DB, 6-2, 180, Sr.; Nick Butler, OL/DL, 6-4, 230, Sr.; Austin Best, RB/DL, 5-11, 210, Sr.; Anthony Canales,RB/LB, 5-10, 190, Jr.

ABOUT THE TIGERS

Lauinger averaged over 11 yards a carry on 29 attempts last season. Canales made 45 tackles, Best made 31, and Armstrong made 29. Two of Jeffrey’s six catches went for touchdowns.

7. NORTH BABYLON BULLDOGS

2018 record: 5-5

Coach: Terry Manning, 29th season

KEY PLAYERS

Ross Tallarico, QB/SS, 5-10, 175, Sr.; Jashaun Hines,OL/DL, 6-2, 225, Jr.; Shaun Martin, OL/DL, 6-1, 245, Sr.; Alec Ryjacek, OL/DL, 5-11, 225, Sr.; Sean Perez, TE/DE, 6-2, 210, Sr.; Trey Randall, OL/DL, 5-10, 230, Jr.

ABOUT THE BULLDOGS

Tallarico and Dylan Diaz, a senior running back and cornerback, are talented and will anchor the offense. Hines gained 25 pounds of muscle since last season, according to Manning.  

8. HUNTINGTON BLUE DEVILS

2018 record: 3-5

Coach: Steve Muller, 24th season

KEY PLAYERS

Jon Koumas, TE/LB, 6-1, 200, Sr; Jaylen Bush,WR/FS, 6-1, 190, Sr.; Taz Smith, OL/DL, 6-0, 225, Sr.; Aiden Mrotzek, OL/DL, 5-11, 270, Sr.; Chad Rowe,WR/LB, 6-0, 190, Jr.; Lex Colato, RB/LB, 5-10, 175, Sr.

ABOUT THE BLUE DEVILS

Koumas is an aggressive linebacker with a good understanding of the defense. As captain, he makes all the defensive calls and is a sideline-to-sideline athlete. Bush is a physical free safety who plays downhill and covers a lot of ground.

9. NEWFIELD WOLVERINES

2018 record: 4-4

Coach: Nick Adler, first season

KEY PLAYERS

Maxwell Martin, QB, 6-1,185, Sr.; Hunter Hughes, SB/DB, 5-10, 160, Sr.; E.J. Dougherty, WR/ DB, 5-11, 190, Jr.; Kyle Siemieniewicz, WR/DB, 6-1, 180, Sr.;Brian Akbulut, OL/LB, 5-10, 190, Jr.; Kyle Medeiros,TE/DE, 6-2, 215, Sr.

ABOUT THE WOLVERINES

Martin is one of the top quarterbacks in the county. Hughes has incredible speed and is often the fastest player on the field. Hughes returned a kick-off for the winning touchdown with 12 seconds left in Week 1 last year.

10. HALF HOLLOW HILLS EAST THUNDERBIRDS

2018 record: 2-6

Coach: Mike Maratto, sixth season

KEY PLAYERS

Brett Martin, QB, 6-2, 180, Sr.; Nyrel Sevilla, RB/LB, 6-2, 210, Sr.; Joe Boninti, OL/LB, 5-7, 215, Sr.; Leisaan Hibbert, QB/DB, 5-10, 155, Jr.; Zahir Whyte, RB/LB, 6-1, 215, Sr.; Dan Studdert, RB/LB, 6-0, 175, Sr.

ABOUT THE THUNDERBIRDS

Martin and Sevilla may have both turned a corner – one figuratively, the other literally. Maratto said Martin is back from a midseason leg injury and is looking better than ever. Sevilla worked on his speed in the offseason and is even more explosive.      

11. SMITHTOWN WEST BULLS

2018 record: 4-4

Coach: Steve Fasciani, fourth season

KEY PLAYERS

Ethan Vanderbrink, OL/DE, 6-1, 225, Sr.; Daniel Caddigan, LB/RB, 5-7, 165, Jr.; Jack Daley, OL/DT, 6-1, 225, Sr; Chad Cusumano, WR/DB, 5-7, 170, Sr.; Zachary Antonacci, OL/MLB, 6-0, 225, Sr.; Reed Greco, DE/TE, 6-2, 220, Sr.  

ABOUT THE BULLS

Vanderbrink made 73 tackles, including 11 sacks, and Daley made 68, including seven sacks, last season. Caddigan scored 11 touchdowns and gained 760 yards from scrimmage, while Cusumano scored seven touchdowns and gained 560 yards.

12. SMITHTOWN EAST BULLS

2018 record: 6-3

Coach: Stephen Costello, second season

KEY PLAYERS

Dean Shaffer, RB/LB, 6-1, 225, Sr.; Kevin Melore, QB, 6-1, 215, Sr.; Nicholas Lardaro, OL/DL, 6-4, 240, Sr.; Anthony Weidtman, WR/DB, 5-8, 200, Sr.; Joe Saccone, WR/DB, 5-7, 170, Sr.; Tyler Pohlman,RB/DB, 5-9, 180, Jr.

ABOUT THE BULLS

Lardaro is a force on defense. He made 39 tackles, including five sacks, and nine tackles for loss last season. Weidtman had 15 tackles and made one interception, while Saccone made 34 tackles and had one interception.

13. COPIAGUE EAGLES

2018 record: 1-7

Coach: Ken Rittenhouse, 11th season.

KEY PLAYERS

Dominic Noel, RB/LB, 5-9, 190, Sr.; Raul Simon,RB/DB, 5-7, 160, Sr.; Khalil Chester, WR/DB, 5-8, 160, Sr.; Yimi Fermin Estevez, TE/LB, 5-11, 190, Sr.; Brian Garcia, OL/DL, 6-0, 215, Jr.; Jeremiah Sims, TE/DL, 6-1, 210, Jr.

ABOUT THE EAGLES

Noel is a returning starter at middle linebacker. He made a key interception late in the only victory last season. Chester, who also runs track, caught three touchdowns in the victory. He’s a good route runner that defensive backs will need to watch.

14. DEER PARK FALCONS

2018 record: 0-8

Coach: Dan Bowker, first season

KEY PLAYERS

Junius Johnson, RB/SS, 5-9, 165, Sr.; Jordan Galaor,OL/LB, 6-1, 180, Sr.; Matthew Jacob, QB/DB, 5-10, 180, Sr.; Kamani Clinkscales, OL/DL, 6-0, 230, Sr.; Ethan Martinez, WR/DB, 5-6, 160, Sr.; Matthew Myrick, QB/LB, 5-10, 205, Jr.

ABOUT THE FALCONS

The offense is transitioning from a triple option to a spread. Jacob is a first-year quarterback – at any level, according to Bowker – and, after trying out for the job and winning it in the offseason, has shown good arm strength.

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