Lawrence and Sayville are both ironically the "gold" standard for football in their respective counties.
The Lawrence Golden Tornadoes and the Sayville Golden Flashes both finished their 2012 county season with perfect 11-0 records and a county championship — neither team having faced any serious threat along the way ... until now.
Last year's 2011 Long Island Class III championship between the same two teams was a record-setting shootout, finishing as highest scoring game in Long Island scholastic history. The game also featured the most yards (1,276) and plays from scrimmage (135) in championship history.
Despite a record 541 yards passing and seven touchdowns from Lawrence quarterback Joey Capobianco, it was Sayville's Zach Sirico who would have the last laugh in a 78-61 win.
The former running back finished the game with 228 yards on 17 carries and tied the Long Island Championship record with six rushing touchdowns. Sirico must be referred to as a "former" running back because he has been taking snaps as Sayville's starting quarterback for the 2012 season.
However, Sirico's running game is still fully intact as he has rushed for 10 touchdowns this season, while passing for 14.
Friday night's rematch might not have the same point total as last year — due to improved defenses on both sides — but it promises to be as dramatic and compelling as Rocky Balboa's rematch with Apollo Creed.
Lawrence was well known for its offense in 2011, and little has changed in 2012. The offensive juggernaut — which features the likes of brothers Tyler and Jordan Fredericks, Eddie Robinson and Capobianco — has scored more than 50 points in eight games this season.
However, it was that same offense — plus the eldest Fredericks brother, Ryan — that met its match in the 2011 Long Island Class III championship against Sayville.
Lawrence had only tasted defeat once in 2011 before Sayville's offense went drive-for-drive with the Golden Tornadoes and some.
"[Sayville] left a bad taste in our mouth last year the way we played that game so we’d like a little redemption against them," Lawrence head coach Joe Martillotti said after defeating Plainedge 54-21 last week in the Nassau County championship.
On the other side of the ball, Sayville ran over Westhampton on Sunday by a final of 36-7 for the team's third consecutive Suffolk County championship. The Golden Flashes have not lost a game on the gridiron since the 2010 Long Island championship game against Lynbrook, a streak of 23 straight wins.
While Sirico takes the snaps, John Haggart has taken over as lead running back and done so with relative ease, rushing for more than 100 yards in all but three games this season. Meanwhile all-purpose wide receivers Chris Belcher and Matt Selts have been causing problems for opposing teams both rushing and receiving all season.
Friday night's Long Island Class III championship between Lawrence and Sayville starts at 7 p.m. at Hofstra's James M. Shuart Stadium.