One would think the final week of the season would be about teams on the brink of a playoff berth needing a Week 8 win to get into the tournament. But in our power points reality, that's simply not the case.
All eight playoff teams are set in Conferences III and IV — it's just a matter of what seeds those teams get.
In Conference I, the winner of the Baldwin (3-4)-Hicksville (4-3) matchup will get in, while in Conference II, Bellmore JFK (2-5) could get in with a win and a Westbury loss to Long Beach. Yet that seems highly unlikely, considering the Cougars get a visit from 6-1 Garden City on Saturday.
Valley Stream Central is actually ahead of Bellmore JFK in power points for ninth place, but since the Eagles (3-4) will take a forfeit from Jericho this week, they won't receive enough power points to move up. Thus, despite a valiant effort, VSC is the first Nassau team to wrap up its 2010 season, extending the program's playoff drought to a county-high 21 years.
With that said, here is a list of the lucky eight from each conference that will advance to the playoffs (they are in order of their standing through Week 7)...
Conference I: Oceanside, Freeport, Farmingdale, East Meadow, MacArthur, Massapequa, Syosset, Hicksville/Baldwin.
Conference II: Carey, Garden City, Wantagh, Elmont, Mepham, Long Beach, Calhoun, Westbury/Bellmore JFK.
Conference III: Lynbrook, Lawrence, Sewanhaka, Bethpage, Plainedge, Hewlett, Glen Cove, Manhasset.
Conference IV: Seaford, Roosevelt, East Rockaway, North Shore, Clarke, Floral Park, Cold Spring Harbor, Mineola.
The same thing may happen to Oceanside this week, and that's where we'll begin with our games to watch in the 5-1-6 this week.
For more on these games from Gregg Sarra and Andy Slawson, click here, and to hear their picks, click here. Also, 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.
Finally, to read about the best games in Suffolk this weekend, click here.
Oceanside (7-0) at Freeport (6-1), Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — Our own Bob Herzog will be on hand tomorrow to see the top two scoring offenses on Long Island go at it with first place in Conference I on the line. The way these two teams have played this season, it's likely a county final preview. The Sailors rely on the strong arm of Tyler Heuer (27 passing TDs) to find a plethora of talented receivers. The Red Devils aren't afraid to toss it with QB Isaiah Barnes, but their bread and butter is their rushing attack of Dan Olivier and Maurice Irby, with a sprinkling of Barnes. Whichever team has the ball last may steal this one.
Elmont (5-2) at Carey (7-0), Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — On paper, this seems like it'll be an easy win for the Seahawks, as they've already beaten Wantagh and Garden City — the two teams the Spartans have lost to. But you can never count out a team with Jaquan Smith in the backfield. John Daddino, Rob Zorn and the rest of the Carey defense have only given up seven points in their last three games, but will have their hands full containing Smith. For the Seahawks' offense, expect Kyle Zahradka to toss it around and Juliano Bove to make some plays. This is likely a county semifinal preview.
Lynbrook (6-1) at Sewanhaka (6-1), Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — Coming off a crushing one-point loss at Lawrence, the Owls will be looking to rebound against an Indians team that features the three-headed running attack Brian Wint (pictured above), Shireem Cobb and Keenan Woods. Each member of that group has rushed for at least 100 yards two straight weeks, including Wint's 201-yard, five-touchdown performance last week against Manhasset. Lynbrook counters with shake-and-bakers Paul Magloire and Travis Lock, while Mike Kozlakowski provides the muscle out of the backfield.
Plainedge (4-3) at Hewlett (5-2), Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — The Bulldogs may very well be the best two-loss team in Nassau (Farmingdale is up there, too), but that's certainly not a title they want to have. They could steal a home playoff game with a win and a Bethpage loss to Carle Place/Wheatley. QB Alex Kahn leads an explosive offense that's scored the most points in Nassau (250) outside of Oceanside and Freeport. They're a team nobody wants to face in the postseason. The Red Devils lost a tight one to Bethpage last week, but could earn a home playoff game with a win. For that to happen, they'll need a big effort from shifty RB Ralph Caccavale.
East Rockaway (5-2) at North Shore (4-3), Saturday at 1:30 p.m. — This is the "Stay away from Seaford" Bowl. The winner gets to avoid the top-seeded Vikings in the semifinal round, facing Roosevelt instead. That won't be a day at the beach, either, but I suppose it's something. As many Conference IV games are, this one's a battle of the running backs — Mike Castellano and Anthony Tesoriero for the Rocks, and Evan Vandoros for the Vikings.