It's only Week 2 of the football season and we already have our first must-win game.
Third-seeded Sachem North travels to Bohemia to meet top-seeded Connetquot at 7 tonight in a Suffolk I game. The Flaming Arrows return to the scene of last season's Connetquot heartbreak, where the Thunderbirds dropped a two-point conversion pass in the final minute as Sachem North held on for a 14-13 semifinal playoff win.
The victory propelled the Flaming Arrows to the school's first Long Island Class I title.
It took a long time to get that first championship and Sachem North is poised to defend the crown. Halfback Kevin Bragaglia scored all three touchdowns in a thorough 21-7 win over Floyd last week. Connetquot used a bevy of backs and stout defense to beat Commack 41-12 in its opener. Both teams want to set the tone for the season with a big win here. Connetquot's motivation will be redemption. Sachem North's confidence level is at an all-time high.
"We're a team in transition," Sachem North coach Dave Falco said. "You don't win a Long Island title in week two. We need to make some adjustments and keep improving. We're not putting pressure on ourselves to defend the title. I think the teams in our division think Connetquot is the top dog. So we'll see."
This is the game of the week.
In other action:
Longwood at Patchogue-Medford, Friday night, 6 p.m.: Patchogue took it on the chin in an overtime loss to Northport. It was the second year in a row that the Raiders lost in OT to Northport. The second-seeded Raiders need to get in the win column against what is believed to be Suffolk I's most explosive offense. Halfback Isaiah White ran behind a stout offensive line as the Lions rushed past Brentwood last week.
North Babylon at Deer Park, Friday night, 6 p.m.: Halfback Jasawn Thompson, a second team All-Long Island pick, could be the difference for Deer Park, which hasn't beaten North Babylon since 1981. The Bulldogs couldn't find the answer defensively in a 35-7 loss to Smithtown East last week. They'll need answers for Thompson.
Shoreham-Wading River at Babylon, Friday night, 6 p.m.: The last time Shoreham-Wading River beat Babylon was in 2005. The two-time defending Long Island Class IV champions will have to stop Shoreham's outstanding quarterback Danny Hughes, who looks to end Babylon's nine-game win streak against the Wildcats.
St. Anthony's at Farrell, Friday night, 7 p.m.: Coach Rich Reichert said his challenge would be building a formidable defensive unit this year. They're not there yet. St. Anthony's allowed 41 points in last week's loss to Father Judge of Philadelphia. Hansen Award winning halfback Jordan Gowins has rushed for 493 yards and eight touchdowns in two games. Farrell won its opener, 45-0.
Carey at Wantagh, Saturday, 2 p.m.: Interesting game for Carey, the defending Class II champions, who are on Nassau's longest current win streak at 13. The Seahawks are expected to roll through Nassau II this season. But don't tell Wantagh, who lost a 14-12 heartbreaker to Carey in a semifinal playoff last year and would love some payback.
Lawrence at Glen Cove, Saturday, 2 p.m.: The defending Long Island Class III champions were outplayed by Bethpage a week ago but came back for a 21-15 win. The sloppy, undisciplined play had coach Joe Martilotti very upset. Expect a more focused Lawrence club this week against a very good Glen Cove.