Are you ready for some Nassau County high school football?
A six-week regular season kicks off Friday night with three games, including Glen Cove at Hewlett, and 46 more teams will be in action this Saturday for the first time since the fall of 2019. Only the top four finishers in each of the four conferences will advance to the playoffs. Here’s a rundown of the 27 south shore teams in the Herald’s coverage area. For schedules, visit www.secviii.org.
Coached by Steve Carroll, the Bruins’ biggest weapon is senior All-Conference running back/linebacker Trey Parkins. Seniors Kenny Ojeikere (wideout/cornerback) and Keyon Wingate (running back/linebacker) are also returning two-way starters. Baldwin is seeded No. 10 in Conference I and opens at Port Washington.
The Colts, coached by Brian Moeller, attempt to rebound from a difficult 2019 behind MVP Ryan Baci, a senior captain and starting defensive end/receiver, senior running back/linebacker Timmy Mack, and senior running back/cornerback Markus Bautista. Calhoun, the No. 11 seed in Conference II, opens at rival Mepham.
The Seahawks are perennial contenders hoping to dethrone four-time defending Conference II champion Garden City, which happens to be their first opponent. Leading the way for coach Mike Stanley is All-County senior linebacker/running back Anthony DeNicola, senior defensive end/tight end Joseph Todaro, and senior wideout/safety Nick Cowen.
Seeded sixth in Conference IV, the Rams and coach Tim O’Malley will lean on the senior leadership and work ethics of linebacker/fullback John Kern, lineman Kevin Henning and running back/linebacker Joe Dieppa to make a playoff push. They're facing Locust Valley in a non-league opener after their original games were called off.
East Meadow Jets
Back in Conference I as the No. 7 seed, the Jets, coached by Doug Bange, host Herricks in the opener. They feature two-way senior standout Chris Barry, who has 12 touchdowns in his past 12 games, senior running back/defensive end Marc Giraud and senior O-lineman/linebacker Alvaro Lopez-Salinas.
East Rockaway Rocks
The Rocks have their work cut out in Conference IV as the No. 10 seed but have experience at quarterback with senior Julian Palma and senior rushers Franklin Infante and Robert Welch. Junior linebacker Jack Mistretta sparks coach Russ Pajer’s defense.
Senior All-County lineman Jason Richardson is the heart and soul of the Spartans, the No. 8 seed in Conference II. They open against Kennedy and return senior Jonathan Maldonado at quarterback. Coach Jay Hegi is high on senior wideout Ted Phebe and junior running back/linebacker Tyler Myers.
Freeport Red Devils
Coach Russ Cellan’s Red Devils haven’t lost a game since 2017. The two-time defending Nassau and Long Island champs lack experience but not talent. The Red Devils, who open against Massapequa, will lean on senior cornerback/wideout Christian Quinn, senior two-way lineman Wildy Baez and senior linebacker/O-lineman Tyrek Rawls.
The Tigers, coached by Sylas Pratt, are seeded No. 8 in Conference I. They’re led in the trenches by two-way starting lineman Kevin Garcia and feature a dynamic offensive weapon in senior Donovan Levenir. They hit the road for the opener at Hicksville.
Junior nose guard Jacob Maiorano will set the tone for the coach John Palladino’s Bulldogs, the No. 8 seed in Conference III. The offense will look to establish balance with senior wideout Manny Richards and junior signal-caller Mark Winkler. They host Glen Cove in the opener on Friday night.
Coach John McGuire’s defense will look to set the tone. The Cougars are the No. 12 seed in Conference II and open at Elmont. Senior safety Ryan Draude was their defensive MVP in 2019. Senior two-way lineman John Leone and senior running back/linebacker Zaid Kaileh also play vital roles.
Lawrence Golden Tornadoes
Part of Conference IV for the first time, coach Jason Supple’s squad is aiming for a playoff berth behind senior two-way starters Luke Kirchner (center/linebacker), Mikell Henry (wideout/safety) and Yuri Martinez (lineman.) The fifth-seeded Golden Tornadoes open at home against Cold Spring Harbor.
Long Beach Marines
The Marines are rebuilding but coach Scott Martin returns senior safety Izzy Maldonado, who led them in tackles in 2019, as well as senior running back/safety Ryan Buonocore, and senior running back/linebacker Jahmeke Primer. The No. 10 seed in Conference II opens against Valley Stream Central.
Senior tailback Ethan Hoyte totaled 834 yards and 9 touchdowns in four wins in 2019 and leads their Conference III playoff hopes. Coach Steve LoCicero is also counting on senior quarterback Dante Quilca and senior linebacker/O-lineman Jonathan Rivas. The Owls open against defending champion Plainedge.
The Generals, who open at South Side, reached the Conference II title game and won 10 straight games in 2019. Senior Andrew Calderon is an All-County lineman, and senior Greg Milau is his partner in crime. Senior Ryan Isom gives coach Bob Fehrenbach a dynamic running back/linebacker.
The Mules, who visit Island Trees in their Conference IV opener, feature senior Michael Warren Jr., who had 9 touchdown receptions in 2019. Senior Gerardo Delligatti is a strong two-way lineman, and junior DeAndre Blagrove is a talented running back/linebacker for coach Kito Lockwood.
The production of senior quarterback Billy Kender (13 touchdowns in 2019) will go a long way in determining the success of coach Anthony Cracco’s team. The fifth-seeded Pirates open against rival Calhoun. Additional keys are senior lineman Jack Savalli and senior wideout/cornerback William Molloy.
The Sailors are the favorites on paper in Conference I and kick off the campaign at Farmingdale. Coach Rob Blount boasts an exciting set of skill position talent led by junior quarterback Charlie McKee, senior tailback/slot receiver Thomas Flavin, and senior running back/linebacker Andres Duran.
The defending Conference IV champs won't be easy to dethrone. They’re led by senior All-County linebacker Craig Ackerman, who had 97 tackles and 5 sacks in 2019. Coach Rob Perpall is also counting on senior tight end/defensive end Brendan O’Hagan and senior two-way lineman Nick Luciano.
Defensive end/wide receiver Frantz Compere is a leader on and off the field for the Indians, the No. 7 seed in Conference II hosting New Hyde Park in the opener. Coach George Kasimatis has senior Holy Gaboton anchoring both lines and senior Brian Lowry at running back/linebacker.
South Side Cyclones
The Cyclones are returning to Conference II after going 16-5 the past two seasons in III. They open against MacArthur. Coach Phil Onesto has emerging senior quarterback JohnJude Considine, who’ll work behind a line led by senior two-way starters Nick Tesar and Jack Temple.
The Knights bring back their leading tackler, senior linebacker Isaiah Lee, and he’ll set the tone on defense along with senior safety/wideout Nathaniel Moorer. Coach Phil Coppola’s front lines will be led by junior Deomiee Scales-Melvin. Seeded ninth in Conference I, they open at Syosset.
V.S. Central Eagles
The Eagles, who open at Long Beach, come off a memorable 2019 season that saw them reach the Conference II semifinals. They’re seeded sixth. Coach Mike Rubino has seniors Dawin Fanor (cornerback), Reese Kaufman (lineman) and Wakeem Jackson (wideout/safety) to keep the momentum going.
V.S. North Spartans
New coach Mike Paolillo looks to get the sixth-seeded Spartans to the Conference III playoffs behind seniors Noah Etame (running back/linebacker) and Peter Mura (lineman), as well as junior wideout/cornerback Andrew Lusterino.
V.S. South Falcons
The Falcons, who visit Bethpage in the opener, are rebuilding. Coach Joe Guastafeste has senior running back/cornerback Yasir Shabazz-Allah, who had 7 touchdowns in 2019, to spearhead the effort along with two-way senior lineman Tyler Van Etten and senior tight end/linebacker Malik Rowe.
Coach Keith Sachs’s team slides into Conference IV where it is seeded No. 2. The Warriors will try to overcome their inexperience behind the efforts of senior Joseph Fontana (tight end/defensive tackle) and junior linebackers Liam Casey (over 100 tackles in 2019) and Tyler Martini.
West Hempstead Rams
The Rams, coached by Dom Carre, are seeded No. 8 in Conference IV and open against North Shore in non-league. They return starting quarterback Peter Theodoratos, who’ll lead an offense that includes two-way starters Zadrian Budhoo, a junior running back/safety, and senior Ak Kargbo, a linebacker/fullback.