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Suffolk III football preview: Hills West returns

Half Hollow Hills West's Gerald Filardi runs the

Half Hollow Hills West's Gerald Filardi runs the ball against West Islip during the second half of the Suffolk Division II football final at Stony Brook University on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016.

For all the football success Half Hollow Hills West has had over the last three seasons, a Long Island Championship remains elusive. The Colts have won 27 games over the last three seasons, but it’s that final result that they are trying to change. Last year, it was a 13-6 loss to Garden City in the Class II LIC, the latest of final-game disappointments that now serve as a jumping off point for a brand-new fall, full of hope and promise.

“I think it really helped motivate us,” said lineman Jimmy Regateiro, a two-way starter. “This was one of the best offseasons we’ve ever had. All of our guys were working really hard. I think it pushed us to get better and get back to Stony Brook.”

The Colts will try their hand at Suffolk III this season, after spending the last seven years in Suffolk II.

“Moving down a conference really doesn’t change much,” quarterback Gerald Filardi said. “Our preparation for the season has been the same. We might have lost some size up front, but our weapons, Justin Brown, Deyvon Wright, and Luke Anderson, are all great players and are working hard. We’re ready for the season.”

Filardi, a second-year starter, threw 13 touchdown passes in the playoffs last season and said he has a much better command of the offense this year.

“My understanding of reading the defense has improved,” Filardi said.

East Islip and Westhampton figure to be the Colts’ main challengers. East Islip lost to Wantagh in the Suffolk II LIC, setting up a potential collision course between two Long Island finalists. East Islip has played in nine of the last 11 Suffolk County finals. Westhampton is led by dynamic Dylan Laube. Laube ran for 2,152 yards and 40 touchdowns last season.

But, they’ll both have to chase the Colts. The last time Hills West was in Suffolk III, 2009, they won the LIC.

Good omen? They sure hope so.

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