After the disruptions and the chaos still lingering in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it's finally time for some playoff football action. Tonight, the 6-2 Sachem North Flaming Arrows will defend their home turf against the 4-4 Bay Shore Marauders in the first step of Sachem's quest to get back to the Suffolk County Championship.
This is a game that may be a much needed respite in light of school closings, power outages, disputes of LIPA's response, the presidential election, Sachem North reopening after the hurricane and then having to close again for power outages. And then there was a nor'easter.
What may have been lost in the shuffle was North's dramatic win over what was an undefeated Connetquot. Malik Pierre and Kevin Bragaglia were the stars of that game, stepping up to fill some of the holes in the ship with the season-ending injuries to Trent Crossan, Anthony Ross and Tyler Andreassi. The team took the field and defended their 3-year unbeaten streak at home. They'll look to take some of that momentum (if there's any left) into this playoff run.
We spoke with Head Coach Dave Falco about tonight's game.
On how the players have handled the turmoil from Hurricane Sandy and the nor'easter.
"It has been difficult to say the least to get kids prepared for a playoff game with all of the closings and the weather and the gas situation in our area. But our kids have set goals for themselves and for our team and they will be ready to play."
On their ability to practice during and after Hurricane Sandy.
"We watched film as a group last Monday, the day of the storm, at Bruno's in Ronkonkoma. They are Sachem alum and were nice enough to give us the back room for watching the film. We got in three days last week during the aftermath and Monday of this week. We had a great practice Tuesday of this week and we shut down yesterday because of the nor'easter. [Thursday]with school closed was another challenge. But we are attempting to get in this afternoon."
"Still no Crossan or Andreassi, but Anthony Ross has begun to wind down his rehab from his Week 2 injury, so he could get some time. We have six others done for the season."
On the impact of the team's dominating win against Connetquot.
"I think we have moved on from that game, as the momentum has been lost due to the different schedule problems we have had. So I am concerned about our timing and ability to tackle as those are usually the first things to go after a layoff.
What we took from that game is that we can play with anyone in our division even though we have lost arguably the two top players in the county for the season.
Our focus is always the same: it's about what we do, not about what the other team does. Do we play with a purpose, do we out-hit our opponents, do we hold on to the football, do we get turnovers, how does our special teams play? Do we win the 3rd down conversion game on both sides of the ball, etc..."
On the challenges Bay Shore presents.
"Bay Shore, offensively, has the ability to both run and pass out of their spread offense. Multiple targets and two QBs that both have different qualities.
Defensively, they are very athletic and run to the ball with a purpose. We will have to be multiple in our approach to have success."
5 Keys to the Game.
- Win the turnover battle
- Quality special teams
- 3rd Down conversion on both sides of the ball
- Stay on schedule offensively
- Limit big plays on defense
Bay Shore at Sachem High School North: Game Time: 7 p.m.