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By Steven Zaitz

The game of football is many things. One thing it is never supposed to be, is easy.

But that is what the Northport Tigers made these spring games look like, when they iced their fourth and final cupcake on Saturday, April 10, creaming Copiague 41-6. They finished the season 4-0 and outscored their opponents 140-25.

To an athlete, they know that while these four wins were nice, nothing worth fighting for is ever easy and the journey to greatness has only just begun.

“These kids never take a day off in their preparation,” said head coach Pat Campbell. “This is what these kids have been waiting for — this moment.”

The ‘moment’ that Campbell is referring to is a showdown with Suffolk County League IV champions West Islip on Saturday, April 17. The Lions beat Bellport 24-14 to earn that crown. 

Northport is seeded second in League III and Half Hollow Hills East is first because the Thunderbirds won five games to the Tigers’ four.  Hills East and Northport were supposed to play earlier this season, but the game was cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols.

Campbell is taking a “we play who is on our schedule approach” even though an argument could be made that Northport’s 4-0 Conference record should have been a factor in deciding the League champions. Hills East was 3-0 in league play and 5-0 overall.

“It is what it is,” Campbell said.

The Tiger defense, which allowed a microscopic 1.6 yards per rushing attempt this year, will have a stiff test against the Lions. They are led by breakout star quarterback Joe Constantino, who ran for 263 yards on Saturday and also threw for a touchdown.

“They run a lot of Read Option and Quarterback Power,” Campbell said. “Constantino is a really good player and probably the best runner we’ve faced.  He’s got speed, he’s savvy and he’s quick.  It’s going to be a challenge for us. They are a very good and well-coached team.”

West Islip also has a steam-rolling offensive line that will smash you in the mouth without hesitation, and a stingy defense that gave up about two touchdowns per game. The Lions’ storied program has a long tradition of winning and is coached by the highly respected Steve Mileti.  They had a recent stretch of games that saw them win 22 out of 24 and they were undefeated this year.

“We all know the real challenges are coming up,” said running back, defensive back and co-captain Rocco Stola. “Our focus is on winning and we are super excited to play in this game against a top team.  I remember playing this kid (Constantino) in junior varsity, and we know what to expect, we have a history with him, and I have full confidence in our defense that we will put a game plan together to stop him. This is the chance to prove ourselves.”

The Tigers are eager to erase both the memories of an injury-marred 2-6 season in 2019 and a bitter playoff loss the year before against North Babylon when they fumbled late in the fourth quarter, just as it looked like they were going in for a winning touchdown.

“I’ve been thinking about getting back to the playoffs ever since that loss against North Babylon,” said co-captain and leading tackler Anthony Canales. “I am really fired up for
this game.”

Another motivating factor for the Tigers is the apparent lack of respect from major regional media and social media power ranking sites, that have seemingly ignored Tiger Nation’s overwhelming success this year.  Twitter prognosticator L.I. Sports Fanatic has already predicted that the Tigers will fall to the West Islip Lions in the first round of the playoffs.

“We don’t make it on to their power rankings, but we don’t care,” said Canales, who averaged more than 10 tackles a game despite sitting out large stretches due to lopsided scores. “They can have people ranked higher than us and predict whatever they want. We like being underdogs because we know that when we get out there, we have a good chance to win.”

Northport averaged more than seven and a half yards every time their offense snapped the ball. The defense very reluctantly allowed two and a half yards per play and gave up two touchdowns all year.  These numbers are absolutely staggering but despite all of that, the attention around these parts has been given to teams like Floyd, Sayville, Bellport and Lindenhurst.

Rafe Carner, Stola’s first cousin, ran for 224 yards and three touchdowns this year.  They have been playing sports together most of their lives and have always enjoyed pushing each other to excel athletically and academically. Like his cousin, Carner knows what is at stake in the coming days.

“Our expectations are to win a championship and that hasn’t changed since the beginning of the year,” Carner said. “This game is going to be tough, and if we win, the next one will be even tougher, but we’re going to do everything we can to make it happen.”

In other words — things are no longer easy, and the Tigers wouldn’t have it any other way.

By Steven Zaitz

Demolish, rinse, repeat.

The Northport Tigers football team made Smithtown East its latest victim this past Saturday, as they cruised to a 50-13 road victory in St. James and ran their record to 3-0. The Bulls drop to 2-2.

Senior running back Andrew Argyris rumbled for 139 yards and three touchdowns, leading a rushing attack that gained 376 yards.  Junior Jack Sandrib had 89 yards, and senior Rafe Carner had 71 and two scores.  This trio averaged over nine and a half yards every time they touched the ball against Smithtown East. The Tigers have averaged 301 rushing yards in their three victories this season.

“Our philosophy is to run it down their throats until they prove they can stop us,” Argyris said. “Our offensive line is nasty, and they open up big holes for us.”

Smithtown East found itself in a nasty situation right from the opening whistle.  They won the coin toss but elected to kickoff to the Tigers. Ten plays later, it was 7-0 Northport on Carner’s 3-yard touchdown run. The Bulls fumbled the ensuing kick and Argyris scored on the very next play to make it 14-0 — and Smithtown East’s offense had yet to touch the ball. “It was like an avalanche,” said Northport Head Coach Pat Campbell. “We didn’t give them a chance to breathe because we did a good job of turning their mistakes into early points.”

Northport converted three East turnovers in the first half into 17 points and had a 44-0 lead at halftime. One of those turnovers was an interception by senior cornerback Tom Tini.

“They had a stack on my side of the field, and I read what he [Bulls Quarterback Nick Karika] was trying to do and he threw it right to me,” Tini said. “I’ll take that any day!”

Despite his perfect diagnosis of the play, Tini was kicking himself for not turning the interception into a pick six. “My coaches were busting my [butt] because if I made one cutback, I would have been gone, “Tini said. “It cost me a steak dinner.”

Regardless of Tini having to pay for his meal, the Tiger defense was its usual mauling self.  They were responsible for only one of the Bulls’ touchdowns — the other was a 86-yard fumble recovery by East’s  Santino Pollina — and have given up only two scores in three games this year, both of which came in garbage time.  The Bulls eked out 162 total yards, which is the high-water mark this year for a Northport opponent. The Tigers have allowed only 129 per game on average – a remarkably low number.

“Our TNT [defensive line and fittingly also an abbreviation for dynamite] is just dominant,” said Campbell.  “They do a lot more than take blockers. It’s three against five up there and most times, our three are winning that battle against the opponents’ five.”

One of those three is Cole Ronan, who registered a sack and two tackles behind the line of scrimmage versus Smithtown East. His nickname is Big Nasty.

“Our main goal is to eat up the blocks and let our linebackers come down hill and make the tackles,” said the 6’3” senior. “We work really hard all week in practice to get ready and it shows up in the games.”

His linemate, senior Dan Lugo, loves to have ‘meetings’ with fellow linemen Ronan and senior Ryan Farrington.

“We are always talking about meeting in the backfield, meeting at the quarterback, meeting at the line to stop the running back”, laughed Lugo, who is known around the locker room as Big Daddy. “We have great chemistry.”

So far that chemistry has resulted in the Tigers outscoring their opponents 99-19, with Copiague next on the schedule. The Eagles have laid quite the egg this year, having dropped all three of their games, outscored 155-8 in the process.

Pictured clockwise from above, Smithtown’s Matt Kaires stiff-arms Northport’s Ryan Bell; the Tigers Andrew Argyris on his way to a 28 yard touchdown run; and Jack Sandrib takes on two tacklers in Northport’s win against Smithtown East.

 

The Comsewogue Warriors at 0-2 this season looked to notch its first win when it hosted the Eastport South Manor Sharks at home in a League V conference matchup in a rare Monday night game April 5. Comsewogue’s first win would have to wait as they fell to ESM 20-8. 

The Sharks set the tone early when on their opening drive consumed nearly 7 minutes off the clock to punch in on a touchdown pass to take the early lead. Comsewogue struggled to get traction and after a blocked punt gave the Sharks another scoring opportunity with 9:06 left in the half for a 13-0 lead. 

With less than a minute left in the 3rd the Sharks found the endzone again to take a 20-0 lead. The Warriors took the egg off the scoreboard in the final 2 minutes and were able to convert for two more but it was too little too late and that elusive victory will have to wait.

The Warriors conclude their COVID shortened season with a road game against West Babylon April 10. Kickoff is at 2:00 p.m. 

Photos by Bill Landon 

by Steven Zaitz

By Steven Zaitz

[email protected]

Many eyes of the Long Island football universe were focused on the South Shore last Saturday, March 27.

However, there was an important contest that took place on the North Shore, too. The Northport football Tigers were back in business and business was booming.

Booming with pad-popping tackles and the pounding of bass drums.  Booming with explosive hits over the middle, running backs and quarterbacks thrown around like rag dolls and bellowing voices cheering from all corners of Tiger Stadium.  A March day in 2021 time-warped to a typical October afternoon in any other year, as Northport lowered the boom on crosstown Huntington, 23-6.

After taking a week off due to pandemic protocols, the Tiger defense was as ferocious as ever, stifling and suffocating Huntington’s offense. Making matters worse for the Blue Devils, they lost All-State running back Nasir Youngblood to a foot injury early in the second half. He was held in check even before the injury, finishing with 31 quiet yards on eight carries.

The leader of this band of mayhem-making marauders is linebacker Anthony Canales. But could he possibly top his superlative performance against Connetquot from two weeks ago?

Sixteen total tackles? Ridiculous.

Four tackles for loss including a sack? Silly.

Add in two passes batted down and five or six bone-crunching hits and we are talking about quite an encore from Opening Day, and outstanding enough to be one of Newsday’s top players of Week 3. 

“Anthony has great linebacker instincts, plain and simple,” said Head Coach Pat Campbell. “He knows how to fill a window and when he sees a gap that he can get through, he flies through that gap and gets there and makes plays.”

Canales, who celebrated Senior Day on this sun-splashed Saturday, doesn’t just put up gawdy numbers. He establishes and enforces an attitude on defense that makes an impression with the opposing team. For instance, early in the game Huntington receiver John Chirico came over the middle in an attempt to make a short reception. Canales separated the intended receiver not only from the ball, but from his mouth guard as well. The Northport side of the field hooted and hollered with delight and Chirico didn’t run that particular pass pattern for the rest of the day.

“He cleaned that kid up”, said Campbell. “The thing about Anthony is that when he gets there, he gets there with bad intentions.”

The entire defense has had plenty of bad intentions in both Tiger wins this year. It’s a hard-hitting and speedy bunch that is always on the attack, giving offenses absolutely no room to operate. Defensive Linemen Cole Ronan, Dan Lugo and Ryan Farrington were in the Devils’ backfield all day long, disrupting whatever Huntington tried to do.

“Our defensive line eats up blockers like crazy,” Canales said.  “It makes it easier for me to run downhill and get the ball carrier.  That’s what I love to do.”

They have allowed an average of 93 total yards in two contests and a grand total of six points. Those points scored on this day by the Blue Devils was a garbage time touchdown when the game was no longer in doubt.

The likeable linebacker had extra motivation as Huntington has always been an archrival of Northport, as the two schools sit five miles apart.

“We took this game personally,” Canales said. “There is no way we were going to let our crosstown rivals beat us, especially on Senior Day. No way!”

The Tiger offense, which was very run-heavy in the opening win against Connetquot, had a nicer balance to it against Huntington. Quarterback Conner Gallagher had six completions for 73 yards, including a super accurate rainbow to senior running back Rafe Carner for an 18-yard touchdown in the 1st quarter.

“We were practicing that play all week and we liked the matchup we had in that down and distance,” Gallagher said. “Once Rafe had a step on his defender, I tried to drop it in. Rafe made a great catch.”

“Conner had to make an adjustment because Rafe got knocked off his original route,” Campbell said. “It was a nice throw and a good, athletic play by Rafe.”

Gallagher had another touchdown on a quarterback sneak and Northport is 2-0. They have again cracked Newsday’s Top Ten Power Rankings and their next matchup is at Smithtown East, who got bullied by Bellport 46-14 on Saturday — but all is not roses for the Tigers.  Starting Center Joe Keller-DelPrete suffered a knee injury in the third quarter and was replaced by Canales’ brother Andrew. Keller-DelPrete is one of the team leaders and when he went down the festive atmosphere of the afternoon became muted.

“He’s one of our big-time leaders, an energy guy, a vocal guy and he’s going to be hard to replace,” Campbell said. “But you have to be a ‘next-man-up’ type of crew and I think we are.”

Another issue the Tigers need to address is the fumbling of the football. They have lost six of them in their two games.

“We have some things we got to fix for sure,” Campbell said. “You don’t win a lot of football games turning the ball over as much as we have. It’s a lack of focus and it has to be our primary job – to take care of the football.”

So far, the defense has bailed them out of dicey situations caused by these turnovers.  One of those defenders, sophomore Owen Johansen had eight tackles, including a safety. Huntington, who made it obvious that they were playing their first game of the year, sloppily snapped the ball over its punter’s head and Johansen tackled him in the Devil end zone.

“That was a big momentum shift for us,” Johansen said. “I think the tide really turned for us after that.”

Johansen’s not kidding.  After his play made the score 16-0, senior Rocco Stola showed off one of the many tools he has in his football tool belt — his blazing speed.

He took the free kick 69 yards straight up the middle, blew past three or four white-shirted Blue Devils for a touchdown.  There wasn’t a Huntington player within 15 yards of Stola when he crossed the goal line.

“Perfect blocking,” said Stola, who plays on all three units of the football team. “As I saw the kick coming towards me, I knew I had to score. I thought I was a bit late for a split second, but I ran my fastest, I saw the hole and I wasn’t going to let anyone catch me.”

“We all knew he was gone as soon as he touched that ball,” Canales said.

Rocco’s run closed the scoring for Northport at 23 and put a ribbon on this one, for all practical purposes.

Oh, and in that game on the South Shore, Sayville beat Floyd. But lest people forget, there are good football teams north of I-495 as well.

By Steven Zaitz

The Kings Park defense did something of a rarity on March 20 against Half Hollow Hills East.

They scored four points on two safeties. That’s a pretty neat trick.

Unfortunately for the Kingsmen, Hills East superstar Quarterback Leisaan Hibbert rushed for four touchdowns, as the Thunderbirds cruised to a 35-4 victory in this non-league matchup in Kings Park on Senior Appreciation Day.  Touchdowns are much better than safeties.

The Kingsmen, having drawn two tough matchups to start the season, are now 0-2 and have been outscored by a combined 93-10. They lost this year’s opener to Sayville in a rematch of the 2019 Suffolk County Division III semifinal playoff game. In so many ways, that playoff game seems like it was a 100 years ago.

As for Hills East, in their two games, Hibbert has rushed for seven touchdowns with three against Malverne and four on this day against Kings Park. He rambled for 195 yards against the Kingsmen, running around, through, and over the K.P. defense in a variety of ways.  The Kingsmen had no answer for running backs Jared Gallub and Kris Tillis either, as the Thunderbirds rolled up over 300 rushing yards on the afternoon. Tillis took the second play from scrimmage 45 yards for a touchdown and Hills East never looked back.

On this spring-like Saturday, the artificial turf and the sun might have been a factor in conditioning, but both teams had to play on the same field. The Kingsman simply got their crowns handed to them.

Kings Park starting quarterback Jonathan Borkowski was harried and hassled all day, with defensive linemen Obiri and Konadu Boadu setting up shop in the Kingsmen backfield from the opening gun — both of whom refusing to leave. Hills East had six sacks and Middle Linebacker Josh Isaacs had one of those sacks. The leading tackler on Hills East Team was Gallub with 11 tackles. James O’Melia replaced Borkowski in the 4th Quarter but fared no better.

It doesn’t get any easier for Kings Park, as they host Westhampton Beach Friday, March 26. The Hurricanes blew away Centereach 48-0 on Saturday, have won both their games and are ranked fourth in Newsday’s Top Ten Small School poll for all of Long Island.

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Fresh off their season opening 66-0 blowout over Copiague, Smithtown East was in the driver’s seat from the opening kickoff led by senior quarterback and co-captain Nick Karika who scored four touchdowns for the Bulls to win it 27-19 at home March 20.

Karika had touchdown runs of two yards, nine yards, 12 yards and his longest, a 49 yarder to put his team out front by 14 with six minutes left in the game. Connetquot managed to find the endzone with seconds remaining in the game.

The win lifts to Bulls to 2-0 for the top spot in League 3. They will hit the road March 27 where they’ll face Hills East. Game time is 1:30 p.m.

Shoreham-Wading River junior Max Barone breaks free and goes the distance in a road game against Mt. Sinai Mar. 19. Photo by Bill Landon

Last season, which was a year-and-a-half ago, Mount Sinai dealt Shoreham-Wading River their only loss of the regular season and the Wildcats weren’t about to let that happen again, blanking the Mustangs 28-0 on the road March 19.

Senior Johnny Schwarz found the endzone on a 36-yard pass from senior quarterback Chris Visintin and punched in again from 8 yards out for a 14-0 lead. Visintin connected with Jake Wilson on a 10-yard pass play in the 3rd quarter and found Max Barone on a 22 yarder late in the game. Jake Ekert’s foot was perfect on the night splitting the uprights all four times.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 2-0 with 3 games remaining while Mount Sinai opens their season 0-1 after they were forced to postpone their season opener due to one or more players testing positive for COVID-19.

Shoreham-Wading River is back in action in another road game against Miller Place March 26 with a 6:30 start and the Mustangs hit the road the following day against Islip. Game time is 2:00 p.m.                 Photos by Bill Landon 

 

 

 

The Newfield Wolverines went against the North Babylon Bulldogs this week to kick off football season after a year-long hiatus. Photos by Andrew Zucker

By Andrew Zucker

It was not the opening day either team was hoping for, but once the Newfield kicker’s cleat made contact with the ball, the spring 2021 season was officially on. 

For both the North Babylon Bulldogs and the Newfield Wolverines, the game on Saturday, March 13, was the first time both teams faced outside competition in over 480 days, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shutting down all high school sports last year.

The final score, a 26-20 North Babylon victory, is a tale of two halves, and then a little more.

For most of the first quarter, North Babylon controlled the game as they held the ball for over eight minutes, driving as far as the Wolverines 16-yard line. But the Bulldogs walked away from the opening drive empty-handed as quarterback Tyler Hovanec bobbled the snap on the field goal attempt and was forced to throw away the ball or risk being sacked.

Newfield scored its first points of the season on a 71-yard run by Joe Hackal with 1:05 remaining in the first quarter. The Wolverines had the extra point attempt blocked by North Babylon, putting them 6-0, a score that stood for another five minutes.

Malachi Hunter gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the day via a hard-fought 2-yard touchdown run less than four minutes into the second quarter.

“They [North Babylon] got down early, they stuck it out, they ground back,” North Babylon head coach Terry Manning said following the game. “That’s our offense. Grind and grind, ground and pound; that’s what our nickname is, and we just took the ball and kept doing that all day long.”

Just before the end of the first half, Newfield managed to grab hold of the lead, this time via a Matt Hirsh TD. Once again, they would miss the extra point.

Take Jackson looked to give North Babylon the lead on the ensuing kickoff, taking it over 50-yards to the end zone, but the TD was negated following a Bulldogs penalty. North Babylon would not capitalize on the field position, finding themselves down 12-7 at the half. 

After halftime, everything changed — or so it seemed. 

The Bulldogs scored the only points in the third quarter, a 15-yard TD by Hunter, and headed into the final frame up 14-12.

“I want my North Babylon kids to play, to be tough, to be aggressive, to never stop,” Manning said. “And to finish strong like that, which they did, so I was pretty proud of it.”

Hunter continued his impressive performance scoring a TD in the fourth quarter, his third of the game, putting the Bulldogs up 20-12. Newfield responded with a touchdown of their own with 3:25 remaining in the game and converted the two-point conversion, knotting it up at 20 apiece.

Starting with the ball on their 44-yard line and 3:19 remaining in the game, North Babylon found themselves in a position most kids dream about. Tie game, ball in your hands, final minutes of a back and forth contest. A game, within a game.

Hovanec led the Bulldogs down the field, making their way to the Newfield 7-yard-line, before spiking the ball to stop the clock with seven seconds remaining. 

Jason Kolk missed the potential game-winning field goal with four seconds remaining, sending the game to overtime. 

In overtime, North Babylon forced a turnover on downs before DaiVon Lofton broke through the Wolverines defense for a 20-yard touchdown run to end the game. 

“Middle Country is very excited about the full return of sports,” said Middle Country Director of Physical Education, Joseph Mercado. “We feel that interscholastic sports is an integral part of a student’s education. We are working very diligently to ensure the safe return for all our students, staff and spectators. With the return of athletics, we hope all our student-athletes and spectators will have a positive and safe experience.”

Newfield (0-1) once again finds itself as the road team, when the Wolverines head to Smithtown West on Friday, March 19. Kickoff is set for 6:00  The Bulldogs (1-0) square off at Bellport on Saturday, March 20 at 2 p.m.

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By Steven Zaitz

They waited almost 500 days to play a football game. They are now going to wait longer than expected to play the next one.

The Northport Tigers opened their spring season this past Saturday by blanking the Connetquot
Thunderbirds, 26-0. However, two Tiger players tested positive for the coronavirus following the
game and the entire team will be quarantined until at least March 24, postponing this week’s
matchup against rivals Half Hollow Hills East.

The Tigers are trying to stay positive, enjoy the win and hope for the best during the 10 day in-
person shutdown of the program.

“It was a great win,” said an emotionally mixed Head Coach Pat Campbell. “I told the guys that
we have to celebrate this win and appreciate it because nobody knows what the future holds.”

Yes, the immediate future of the team has a large font-sized question mark above its collective
head, but the present says they have a record of 1-0 after their thumping of the Thunderbirds.
The Tigers are looking at this early season pause philosophically.

“I talked to the kids and the message is not to lose your faith, look out for each other and we’ll
get back out there in short order,” Campbell said. “We’re going to meet virtually, and I have a lot
of trust in this team. We’re going to stay ‘together’ apart.”

On this autumnal day in March, they did more than stay together. They obliterated Connetquot
starting right from the opening whistle. The Tigers played a stifling brand of defense, allowing
the T-Birds 84 total yards and zero trips into the red zone. Northport linebacker Anthony
Canales was a human game plan wrecker as he had 13 tackles and a quarterback sack.

“That was the first real sack of my career,” Canales said. “It felt great.”

The senior and future Alfred University Saxon, who also had a forced fumble and three tackles for
loss, admits he might have had an extra bit of motivation on this day. Newsday’s list of Top 100
High School Football Players on Long Island was published the day before the game and
Connetquot’s Will Immel and Vncent Canatia were both on the list. There were no Tigers on it.

“I guess they forgot us this year,” said the jovial Canales. “I feel like we have a few players on
this team who could have made that list, but it’s only a list. At the end of the day, who really
cares. It’s cool to prove people wrong.”

Coach Campbell joked that he’s going to start calling his players 101, 102, 103 and 104.

On offense, the Tigers used an inside-outside running game and racked up an eye-popping 377
yards rushing. Rafe Carner led the way with 102 on the ground, and Andrew Argyris had three
blunt force touchdowns from in close. Jack Sandrib steamrolled his way to 95 yards on only six
carries, and Rocco Stola had 94 yards on seven carries. Stola, who plays defense and special teams as
well (i.e., he never comes off the field) was able to use his speed to out-flank the T-Bird defense
on sweeps.

“I’ve got to give credit to the blocking upfront,” said the modest Stola. “We have been working
really hard, in drills and in meetings, even from last year when a lot of things didn’t go our way.
But today, our offensive line was great. Our defense was amazing. I think all phases today
showed that Northport is ready to make a difference after all this time away from football.”

In 2019, the Tigers were ravaged by injuries, had a 2-6 season and missed the playoffs for the
first time in a decade.

“Last year [2019] we had a different kind of epidemic and it was injuries,” lamented Campbell.
“We had 22 separate injuries, many of which were season ending. We went through five
quarterbacks and by the time we got to the last game of the year, we were on our sixth.”

This year’s signal caller, senior Conner Gallagher, had a quiet game, completing half of his eight
pass attempts for 40 yards, but Campbell felt he did a fine job leading the offense.

“Conner looked good on the tape I saw,” Campbell said. “He’s going to be called upon to make
some big throws for us this year. But today, we were able to run it effectively.”

Looking at tape and holding virtual meetings are what the team is relegated to for the next week
and a half, but the coach is already planning on how to make best use of that time as they still
plan to play Huntington on March 27.

“It’s going to be hard, but I think it’s important to keep the routine and schedule and devote the
time to football that we planned on,” Campbell said. “As far as staying in shape physically, that’s
up to each kid being accountable for himself. The kids are in charge of the culture on this team,
and we have many great leaders. I have confidence in our leaders to be able to rally them up and
we’ll step up to this challenge as a team.”

Just another 10-day challenge; for Northport football, they can add that to the five hundred that
came before.

Centereach wide receiver Gennaro Esposito bolts to the outside eluding two Bellport defenders in the Cougar’s season opener Mar. 13. Photo by Bill Landon

The Cougars of Centereach couldn’t get traction in their season opener on the road against Bellport where the Clippers struck on a 53-yard throw to Ka’Shaun Parrish who found the endzone for the early lead. The Cougars struggled to move the chains and was unable to answer when Bellport struck again in the second quarter on a Parrish 9-yard run for a 14-0 lead that held up the rest of the way.

Centereach will look to put a “W” in the win column March 20 when they’ll take on West Islip in this Covid abbreviated five game-season at home. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.