Hard to believe the penultimate week of the regular season is upon us. It seems like just yesterday we were at Syosset on Labor Day for the opening game of the season.
But enough nostalgia, we've still got important games to play, including tonight's game of the year in Conference IV — the last matchup of undefeated teams on Long Island this season.
Roosevelt and Seaford are two of five unbeaten squads left in Nassau (Oceanside, Carey and Lynbrook are the others). All five have tough games this week, beginning with Oceanside playing host to Uniondale (3-3) tomorrow night. We'll have more on the other two games below.
With that said, let's get to this week's games to watch in the 5-1-6.
For more on these games from Gregg Sarra and Andy Slawson, click here. And be sure to check today's paper, as Gregg, Andy, Bob Herzog and myself make picks for the 10 best games on the Island this weekend. Gregg and Andy's picks can be viewed here.
Finally, to read about the best games in Suffolk this week, click here.
Syosset (3-3) at Farmingdale (4-2), Friday at 7 p.m. — This game, matching the top two preseason seeds in Conference I, is more a battle of playoff positioning than a regular-season title. The Braves had only scored seven points in their last two games (both losses) before destroying Massapequa 30-7 last week. Their defense, led by Jake Lebowitz (three sacks and a forced fumble last week) and Evan Kappatos (last year's Piner Award winner), will have to stop Dalers running back Kevin Wahl, who rushed for 136 yards and four TDs last week in a route of Baldwin. A Syosset loss will make next week's game at East Meadow a must-win for a playoff spot. Tonight's game can be seen live on MSG Varsity's Friday Night Football on iO channel 14 (714 in HD).
Freeport (5-1) at MacArthur (4-2), Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — The Red Devils' offense is clicking. Last week they scored 41 points for the third straight week in a route of East Meadow, giving them 244 on the season (second only to Oceanside in the conference). The Generals have won three in a row after a 1-2 start, and feature a stingy defense, led by linebacker Tom Joyce. This game features two great backfield committees — Dan Olivier, Maurice Irby and QB Isaiah Barnes for Freeport, and Brett Ellers (pictured above), Nick Meadows and QB Kevin Monahan for MacArthur. A Generals win would basically guarantee them a home playoff game with 1-5 Herricks looming next week.
Wantagh (5-1) at Garden City (5-1), Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — I'll be on hand tomorrow for this intriguing Conference II matchup. Both lost to Carey, but Garden City didn't lose as bad — 26-14 to 30-0. Does that matter? Maybe. The Trojans are looking for their third straight shutout behind a defense that has forced 11 turnovers the past two weeks, while the Warriors put up 51 on Bellmore JFK last week. Look for power back John Reicherter to see plenty of carries in an attempt to soften up the stout Garden City defense. If it comes down to a field goal, the Trojans have just the guy to hit it in Ryan Norton.
Carey (6-0) at Mepham (5-1), Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — Yes, the Pirates have five wins, but only one (a 48-13 decision over Westbury) came against a team .500 or better, and one was a forfeit from Jericho, which isn't fielding a team this year. Carey has already beaten Wantagh (5-1) and Garden City (5-1) rather easily, so this one shouldn't be much of a problem for Kyle Zahradka, Juliano Bove and the rest of the Seahawks. However, look for Mepham QB Nick White (eight passing TDs in five games, including three last week) to make some plays.
Lynbrook (6-0) at Lawrence (4-2), Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — Let's be honest, nobody's stopping the Owls' offense, which is averaging over 36 points per game and is led by quarterback Paul Magloire and running back Travis Lock. But can Ryan Fredericks and the rest of the Golden Tornado offense keep pace? Not if linebacker Mike Kozlakowski (three sacks, two fumble recoveries) has anything to say about it. This game will be replayed in its entirety on MSG Varsity, iO channel 14 (714 in HD), at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday.
Bethpage (4-2) at Plainedge (4-2), Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — The surprising Golden Eagles are in the playoff hunt, but like Mepham, they haven't proven they can beat the conference's best yet. Their four wins came against opponents that are a combined 6-18. Look for fullback Paul Bitetti and Joe Schulteis to get most of the carries, while Plainedge, which has won two straight by a combined nine points, counters with Ralph Caccavale, who has two straight 150-yard rushing performances.
Roosevelt (6-0) at Seaford (6-0), Friday at 7 p.m. — Ya'll have heard about this one by now. I'll be on hand tonight to see the last game on the Island between two undefeated teams this season. It's a battle of the backs, as Donte Colter squares off against Justin Buckley. Both needed overtime to beat Floral Park. Expect this one to be just as close.