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PREVIEW: West Islip vs. Riverhead (NY)

September 14, 2012

The West Islip Lions will host the Riverhead Blue Waves in week 4 of the Great American Rivalry Series. The kickoff is set for 2:00PM at West Islip’s Turf Field. This will be the first time these 2 teams have met since the 2009 season when Riverhead won 28-9. The Blue Waves have won 4 of the last 6 meetings in the series including a matchup in the semifinals of the 2008 Suffolk County playoffs. Riverhead went on to win the championship and was crowned the Long Island Champions, Suffolk County champions, Big Four Champions and the League Champions.

West Islip finished the 2011 season with a 7-2 record and earned a trip to the playoffs before losing to Sachem East in the first round. Head Coach Steve Mileti says that this year’s squad will feature more size and speed on the field. Junior Sam Ilario will be replacing 3-year starting quarterback Anthony Santo who graduated. Ilario played wide receiver as a sophomore and caught 4 touchdown passes. He will be passing to seniors Nick Aponte and Ryan Wieczorek at the wide receiver positions. Aponte and Wieczorek will also play free safety and corner back, respectively, on defense. Senior Jonathan Stancavage is a 6’4”, 305 pound defensive lineman that will have no problem clogging up opponents’ running game. The defense is rounded out by linebacker Joe Barcia and defensive back Dan Johnson.

Head Coach Leif Shay’s Blue Waves squad enters the 2012 season as the #1 team in Suffolk Division II. The Blue Waves finished the 2011 season with a 6-3 overall record and are looking to top that this season. Much of the hype surround the Riverhead team can be credited to senior starting quarterback Ryan Bitzer. Bitzer is a 3-year starter for the Blue Waves and will have plenty of options to pass to. Seniors Jeff Pittman and Quinn Funn are very athletic and very fast. Both will lineup at the wide receiver positions and will also play as defensive backs. Seniors Kyle McCabe and Kyle Harris will anchor the defensive and offensive lines.

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What is the Great American Rivalry Series?

Each fall for over a century, high school football has been the centerpiece for families and communities on Friday night. In 2004, iHigh, Inc. created the Great American Rivalry Series to celebrate this uniquely American sport and the cultural phenomenon of “Friday Night in America.” The Series shines the spotlight on top high school football rivalries across the nation, where long-standing traditions are valued, expectations are sky high, and followers are committed.