LICs: Five reasons why...
Five reasons why Floyd will win the Class I championship...
1. Double-headed rushing attack - Diamonte Corley and Chris Faison have been on a tear. Faison has topped the century mark in rushing yards in each of Floyd’s playoff games, while Corley has added touchdown runs of 56, 59, and 59.
2. Coach Longo - Head Coach Paul Longo has been at the helm at Floyd for 17 years. In that time, he has led the Colonials to nine Suffolk Division I titles and four Long Island Championships. The man gets results.
3. A.J. Otranto - In the Div. I title game, Otranto only threw for 108 yards but had three touchdowns. Whenever Longo asked him to put the game in his hands, Otranto stepped up. Earlier this season, Otranto had a 13-for-19 day with 252 yards and four TDs.
4. Lots of points - Most people know Floyd has a good offense. How good? 35.8 points per game, that's how good. They made a statement in the Division I championship by putting up 61 points against Sachem East.
5. Defending champions - Stacey Bedell is gone, but this is still a veteran crew with a Class I title under its belt from last season. A.J. Otranto, Jonathan Martinez, Vantrelle Nash, Vinny Labate, Marc Coles, Miguel Brennin are among the Colonials playing in their second consecutive LIC. They won't be overwhelmed by the big moment.
Five reasons why Farmingdale will win the Class I championship...
1. The running game – The Dalers' dual threat at running back, Curtis Jenkins and Kevin Petit-Frere, can take over a game. Expect the duo to get about 30 touches combined during the 48 minutes.
2. Defense wins championships – That saying never gets old, and more often than not, it is true. En route to Farmingdale’s 14th Nassau County title, the Dalers gave up only 18 points in three playoff games. Farmingdale has only given up more than 20 points once this season (48 vs. East Meadow).
3. A solid QB – Joe Valenti has provided much stability at the quarterback position this year. Although much of Farmingdale’s game relies on the run, Valenti has proven he can throw the pigskin, with eight TD passes.
4. Old-fashioned football - The Dalers' steady offensive and defensive lines can make some big plays. Ryan Feiner made a statement against Baldwin with a team-leading 8 1/2 tackles.
5. Buddy - Farmingdale coach Buddy Krumenacker has a knack for leading teams to championships. With 11 Nassau titles under his belt (six with Farmingdale, five with Hempstead), Krumenacker's success is unrivaled on the Island.
Five reasons why Riverhead will win the Class II championship...
1. Long-strike ability - 22 of the Blue Waves' touchdowns this year have been 20 yards or longer. Perhaps the most telling stat is that five of those touchdowns have been from 60-69 yards.
2. If not by air, hit the road - While many teams employ the two-running back system, the Blue Waves have their workhorse, Jerimiah Cheatom. The outstanding junior has rushed 233 times for 1,674 yards, 7.1 yards per carry, and 14 touchdowns.
3. Limiting the damage - Riverhead has not allowed more than eight points in any quarter in their last four games and haven’t allowed more than 20 points in their six games.
4. Ryan Bitzer to Quinn Funn - This tandem has been devastating to opposing defenses this year. Funn has 49 receptions, 958 yards, and 14 of Bitzer’s 20 passing touchdowns this season.
5. Suffolk holds the edge - In the 20 years that the Long Island Class II Championship has been contested, Suffolk teams have dominated, going 14-6. Riverhead last won in 2008 against Elmont, 42-6.
Five reasons why Garden City will win the Class II championship...
1. The cardiac kids – The Trojans have shown tremendous resilience in their last two games. In both contests, they trailed by 10 points or more at halftime, yet still rallied and found a way to win.
2. A stoic leader – Garden City head coach Tom Flatley knows how to win. With 28 years behind him and an overall record of 285-40-7, the young Trojans look to Flatley and his four Long Island titles for guidance to the top of Class II.
3. Big plays at big times - Justin Guterding has shown he can come up with the big play when needed. He had the winning score against Wantagh and provided the game-ending one-handed interception against Carey.
4. "Stew" - Garden City QB Brett Stewart has shown he is as tough as they come -- both mentally and physically. After his team's victory over Wantagh, he overcame two interceptions to help his team rally from a 10-point halftime deficit. Stewart doesn't hesitate to scramble (111 yards rushing against Wantagh) and has taken his share of big hits. Stewart set school records for passing TDs in his first year under center for the Trojans.
5. History on its side - Garden City and Riverhead have only faced each other once in the Long Island Championship's 20-year history with the Trojans claiming a 20-0 victory in 2003.
Five reasons why Sayville will win the Class III championship...
1. John Haggart - The Stony Brook-bound senior has been a force on both sides of the ball for his entire varsity career. In his last four games, he’s rushed for 406 yards and nine touchdowns. On the defensive side, Haggart has a nose for the ball and disrupting the play.
2. Experience - Sayville's win in last year's record-setting 78-61 shootout in the Long Island Class III Championship against Lawrence left everyone speechless. Could we be in store for another game like that? A couple of standouts from that game are back for the Golden Flashes. QB Zach Sirico -- then a running back -- rushed 17 times for 224 yards and 6 TDs, while Haggart added 141 yards and two scores in last year's game.
3. The offense is even better than last year - How is that possible? The Golden Flashes of 2011 were rightfully praised as one of the most powerful offenses in LI history. But looking at the numbers, this year’s offense is ahead of that torrid pace. Heading into last year’s LIC, Sayville had 389 total points (35.3 per game); this year’s squad is at 426 (38.7 per game).
4. Been there, done that - Since Head Coach Rob Hoss took over the reins in 2002, Sayville has made it to the LIC five of the last eight years, taking home the big trophy in four out of five.
5. Powerful defense - No one expects defense to be the storyline, but the Golden Flashes allowed an average of 8.7 points per game, and have not allowed more than 14 points in any game this season. 83 of their 96 points allowed game in the fourth quarter, when the first defense often was off the field.
Five reasons why Lawrence will win the Class III championship...
1. The team with the most points wins – The Golden Tornadoes shattered the Long Island record with 560 points this season. Lawrence has scored 50 or more points in eight of 11 games and there’s no reason to think they won't do the same on Friday night.
2. Joey Cap – After an incredible performance in last year's Class III LIC in which junior quarterback Joe Capobianco threw for 7 TDs and LOST, this season further cemented his status as one of Long Island’s most prolific throwers. The junior quarterback threw for 37 TDs this season -- a Nassau record -- and has amassed 64 passing TDs in his career – nine shy of the all-time mark.
3. Fredericks times two – Tyler and Jordan Fredericks are dangerous weapons who opponents have found impossible to stop. Tyler (9) and Jordan (3) have combined for 12 touchdowns in the playoffs alone.
4. Oh, and Eddie Robinson too – Lawrence’s star wide receiver set the Long Island record for touchdown catches in a season with 19. There isn't a place Capobianco can put the ball where Robinson can't make a play on it.
5. Defense, defense, defense – Lawrence's offense gets all the accolades, but the Golden Tornadoes defense has improved ten-fold over last season. Lawrence has given up one score or less in eight of its 11 games.
Five reasons why Babylon will win the Class IV championship...
1. Big time defense - The Panthers' 2012 campaign has mostly been successful thanks to a stellar defense. Babylon has only allowed 95 points all season -- an 8.6 per game average.
2. Jake Carlock: - The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Carlock was a big weapon for the Panthers in the Div. IV title game versus Mt. Sinai. With the game knotted at 7-7 in the third quarter, QB Nick Santorelli hit Carlock on a quick slant, who dodged tacklers as he ran across the field, then burst up the field for a 53-yard touchdown.
3. An arsenal of rushing weapons - Head Coach Rick Punzone has the ability to control the clock because he has a rushing attack that coaches dream of. In more than half of his team’s games he’s used at least six different running backs. Leading the pack is Eric Schweitzer, who has 11 rushing touchdowns this year.
4. Young core - The Panthers are hungry for an LIC win. QB Nick Santorelli, RB Eric Schweitzer, WR Jake Carlock and DE Tyler Christiansen are all underclassmen who will be back next year.
5. Hot streak - Excepting Babylon’s loss to Glenn in the 2011 Suffolk IV semifinals, The Panthers have won 16 games in a row.
Five reasons why Roosevelt will win the Class IV championship...
1. Catch me if you can – Johnnie Akins and Marquell Saunders ran roughshod over Nassau Conference IV. One of the two usually amasses 100 yards on the ground in a game, and Akins has rushed for more than 200 in five games this year.
2. Returning Rough Riders - Roosevelt is back in the LIC for the second straight year and are used to the big stage.
3. Changing up the game plan - Roosevelt threw more passes in the Conf. IV title game than it did in any game this year -- six. The Rough Riders will look to surprise Babylon with more dropbacks in its typically run-heavy playbook.
4. Hansen - One of the key cogs of Roosevelt's offensive line is Robert Hansen, the 6-foot-1, 250-pound junior. His absence during much of the second half of the Nassau Conference IV title game was one of the main reasons Valley Stream North nearly overcame a 16-0 halftime deficit against the Rough Riders. Hansen's return helped quell the Spartan comeback and will prove key in Roosevelt's performance.
5. Coach Vito - The 19th-year head coach from Roosevelt has built an outstanding resume. With a record of 138-48-2, Coach Joe Vito has the savvy to get the Rough Riders to the promised land.