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Top playoff seeds can't afford to take their semifinal opponents lightly

Kings Park QB Kevin Decker throws under pressure

Kings Park QB Kevin Decker throws under pressure in a game against Comsewogue, Friday, October 19, 2018 at Comsewogue High School. Photo Credit: George A. Faella

The week that was in high school playoff football offered up a delightful menu of upsets - 10 to be exact - giving more meaning to the phrase, ‘that’s why they play the games.’

Don’t think for a second the programs at Freeport, Floyd, Garden City and Westhampton, all of whom ran roughshod over opponents in the regular season, didn’t take notice of the quarterfinal round results.

“Your guys have to be focused and never look past anyone,” Floyd coach Paul Longo said. “I use history and past experiences to show them that anything can happen if you’re not prepared for an opponent. We beat Longwood by 30 in the regular season in 2004 and then they beat us in the Suffolk title game. We drive it home that this could be the last time they put the jersey over the shoulder pads and that hits home.”

Floyd and Freeport are both 9-0 and on a collision course for a Long Island Class I championship matchup. Neither Longo nor Freeport coach Russ Cellan will take opponents lightly in the coming two weeks. Floyd hosts Sachem East (4-5) Saturday at 1 p.m.

Freeport will meet Uniondale (6-3) on Saturday at Hofstra University at 1:30 p.m. Freeport has captured five LI Class I titles, the last in 2016. The Red Devils beat Uniondale, 41-7, in the final game of the regular season. Uniondale last reached the Nassau final in 1996.

Westhampton (9-0), the defending Long Island Class III champion, are currently on a school record 21-game win streak, and host No. 5 Kings Park (7-2) on Friday at 6 p.m. The teams did not meet this season.

“We have a lot of respect for the program at Kings Park,” Westhampton coach Bryan Schaumloffel said. “They’re a quality team and we know they’re coming over here with a little chip on their shoulder and ready for a very tough game.”

Kings Park has a terrific quarterback in Kevin Decker, who has thrown for 15 scores and 1,604 yards passing. And the Kingsmen have balance in the offense with halfbacks Vince D’Alto, who missed last week’s playoff game against East Islip and Justin Rivera.

Westhampton is known for its hard-hitting, stingy defense but the Hurricanes have also scored 38 points per game. Halfbacks Jaden Alfano St. John and Tyler Nolan and fullback Liam McIntyre have been unstoppable.

All Nassau semifinals are played at Hofstra University.

NASSAU II

Calhoun vs. Garden City, Thursday, 4 p.m. Top-seeded Garden City (9-0) is riding a 33-game win streak and hasn’t been tested this season. The Trojans, the two-time defending LI Class II champions, open the semifinal round of the playoffs against upstart Calhoun (5-4), which upset No. 3 Mepham, 24-21, in overtime.

NASSAU IV

Seaford vs. West Hempstead, Friday, 7:30 p.m. Seaford (7-2) is the two-time defending LI Class IV champion and have been to nine of the past 12 Nassau Conference IV finals. West Hempstead (5-4) scored 20 unanswered points to win 20-14 and take out the two seed from Clarke.

SUFFOLK I

Longwood at Ward Melville, Friday, 6 p.m. Ward Melville (7-1) better not look past Longwood (6-3) toward a showdown with Floyd in the Suffolk I final. The Lions are on a roll with halfback Elrich Bowlay-Williams and its rugged ground game. Ward Melville beat Longwood, 30-20, three weeks ago. Patriots QB Trey Berry has given the offense balance with his accurate passing but the weather forecast is for heavy wind and rain which changes the game plan. The team that wins in the trenches advances to the final.

SUFFOLK IV

Babylon at Mt. Sinai, Friday, 6 p.m. Mt. Sinai won, 11-8, in the fourth week of the season. Babylon has won 7 of the 8 playoff meetings between the two perennial playoff contenders. This one could come down to the final possession.

NASSAU I

Farmingdale vs. Oceanside, Saturday, 10 a.m. Oceanside (7-2) won, 19-12, in Week 6. Farmingdale (7-2) peaks at playoff time. These teams have split their last 10 meetings since 2010.

SUFFOLK III

Sayville at Half Hollow Hills West, Saturday, 1 p.m. Hills West won, 34-18, in Week 2 and that was a long time ago. QB Gerald Filardi will need time to throw against a Sayville defense that boasts the return of tackling machine Max Kolar. The Colts have played in four straight division finals. Sayville has more wins (452), more playoff wins (53), and more Suffolk titles (13) than ANY program in Suffolk history.

GREGG SARRA (55-35)

Garden City  

Carey

Cold Spring Harbor

Seaford

Longwood

Westhampton

Babylon

Shoreham-Wading River

St. Anthony’s

Cardinal Spellman

Farmingdale

Freeport

Plainedge

Wantagh

Floyd

West Islip

Lindenhurst

Hills West

Kellenberg

Holy Trinity

ROGER RUBIN (53-37)

Garden City

Carey

Cold Spring Harbor

Seaford

Ward Melville

Westhampton

Mt. Sinai

Shoreham-WR

St. Anthony's

Spellman

Oceanside

Freeport

Plainedge

Wantagh

Floyd

West Islip

Lindenhurst

Sayville

Kellenberg

Holy Trinity

ANDY SLAWSON (51-39)

Garden City  

Carey

Cold Spring Harbor

Seaford

Ward Melville

Westhampton

Babylon

Shoreham-Wading River

St. Anthony’s

Cardinal Spellman

Farmingdale

Freeport

Plainedge

Wantagh

Floyd

West Islip

Lindenhurst

Hills West

Kellenberg

Holy Trinity

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