With the schedules out in Nassau, Suffolk and the CHSFL and the start of the football season on Long Island a little more than two months away, News 12 Varsity takes a look at some of the top games to watch.
Here are the first three in a list of the top 25 games of the 2017 football season.
Oceanside at Massapequa
Sept. 9, 2 p.m.
This might be the highlight of the Week 1 schedule on Long Island and a potential Nassau Conference I championship preview. With a bevy of returning players on both sides of the ball, Oceanside is the top-seeded team in Nassau I, while the Chiefs, who also have their share of top returnees, are the No. 3 seed.
Kenny Galvin vs. Tommy Heuer
Both teams have the rare luxury of a returning starting quarterback and while Oceanside may have the edge in experience on the line, the game could come down to which rising senior QB will be more effective.
In his first year as a starter, Galvin threw for 763 yards and 12 touchdowns a year ago, while Heuer connected on 56 percent of his passes for 1,376 yards and 14 TDs.
These South Shore rivals have played some thrilling high scoring games over the past few years and this one should not be any different. They’ve played four times over the last two seasons. Oceanside won the first three games, including 31-22 in the 2015 Nassau Conference I semifinals at Hofstra. Massapequa won the last showdown, a thrilling 31-28 victory in the quarterfinals last November in which the Chiefs rallied from a 21-10 deficit. Brothers Garrett and Shane Gibbons connected for a 17-yard TD with 31 seconds left to seal the win for Massapequa.
Westhampton at Hills West
Sept. 16, 1 p.m.
If you’re looking for some high scoring football, this Week 3 showdown in Suffolk III cannot be missed. Hills West captured the Suffolk II title a year ago and enters Suffolk III as the top seed in a preseason poll of the division’s coaches. Meanwhile, Westhampton is looking to build on a solid 2016 season that saw the Hurricanes win their first seven games and reach the Suffolk III semifinals.
Dylan Laube vs. Deyvon Wright
Who will be the premier running back in Suffolk County this year? That might be decided after this one.
As a junior, Laube rushed for a school record 2,152 yards and became just the third player ever on Long Island to score 40 touchdowns in a season. He also returned four kickoffs to the house, helping Westhampton reach the Suffolk III semis.
Laube was lauded for his efforts, winning the Joe Cipp Jr. award as Suffolk’s top running back and finished second to Sayville’s Jack Coan in the voting for the Hansen Award, given annually to Suffolk’s best all-around player.
Wright, who is entering his junior season, already has an offer from West Virginia and drawn interest from numerous college programs because of his ability to hit the hole hard and cutback on a dime. A year ago, he rushed for more than 1,600 yards and 21 touchdowns.
That’s part of the intrigue of this matchup because there are none. Both teams have been in different divisions for years. Until now.
St. Anthony’s at Delbarton
Sept. 9, 7 p.m.
While we’ve grown accustomed to tri-state showdowns like this in lacrosse and basketball, its rare in football because of the compact schedule, which makes this game immediately so attractive.
Cole Kreshpane vs. Greg Campisi
Kreshpane isn’t physically imposing at 5-foot-8, 190 pounds, but the Delbarton rising senior is a tackling machine at middle linebacker and a threat at running back as well. A two-year starter at MLS, Kreshpane led the Green Wave in tackles for a second straight year with 130 a year ago.
Campisi took over the starting quarterback role as a sophomore when incumbent Bo Waters went down with an injury and he flourished. Campisi completed 56 percent of his passes for 930 yards and 12 touchdowns, while rushing for two more scores in five starts for the Friars.
This is the third consecutive year the teams have played and fourth time since 2009 and every single game has been decided in the final seconds.
A year ago, the Green Wave earned a measure of revenge after a last-second loss at home in 2015 to beat the Friars on the road on a steamy night in South Huntington. A Luca Tria 1-yard touchdown following a 53-yard burst on a sweep right by Anthony Siragusa gave Delbarton its lone lead of the game at 21-20 with 3:56 left.