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Shoreham-Wading River and North Shore are a tale of two programs in LI Class IV championship

Nov 27, 2021

Max Barone of Shoreham-Wading River twists through a hole in the Bayport-Bluepoint line during the Suffolk Division IV championship football game at Stony Brook University on Friday, November 19, 2021. Credit: Peter Frutkoff By Mike Ruiz michael.ruiz@newsday.com When Shoreham-Wading River and North Shore face off in the Long Island Class IV championship game on Saturday afternoon at Stony Brook University’s LaValle Stadium, the matchup will feature two football programs with histories that are essentially polar opposites SWR (10-1) has won four Long Island championships overall and this will be its sixth title game appearance in the last eight years. The Wildcats will enter the 4:30 p.m. kickoff looking to win their second consecutive title after earning a 49-7 victory over Seaford in 2019. The football postseason did not extend beyond the county championships this past spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "That was one of our themes this past Monday," Shoreham coach Aden Smith said. "Not to take this opportunity for granted because everybody doesn’t get this opportunity. Our team last season was deserving of it and for whatever reason we didn’t get a chance to play it." North Shore (9-2), however, has a far different level of experience in this game, as this will be the first ever trip for the Vikings. They won their only county championship back in 1975, long before the Long Island Championships began in 1992. North Shore coach Dan Agovino said his team is prepared for the challenge that comes with the rare feat of reaching this stage. "We’re excited to be here," Agovino said. "This community and the alumni have been behind us 100%. We’re really excited to go out there and play for them. We’re ready to go and there’s a great buzz." The Vikings will rely on a strong running game that has put them in this position, led by Nick La Rosa, who has 833 yards and 15 touchdowns on 103 carries this season. North Shore also features a pair of dual-threat quarterbacks in Daniel Quigley and Peter Liotta, who both have rushed for over 600 yards. Subscribe to Newsday's high school sports newsletter Newsday's weekly newsletter takes you on the field and inside the high school sports scene across Long Island. By clicking Sign up, you agree to our privacy policy . "Nick is a tremendous athlete," Agovino said. "As a coach, he’s just fun to watch. You just give him the ball and let him do his thing or watch him block or tackle, he’s just fun to watch." Smith emphasized Shoreham’s need to bring a high level of physicality, particularly at the line of scrimmage. "They look very big and physical," Smith said. "They’ve got some physical running backs, quarterbacks they use in the running game and some dominant linemen who look very aggressive like they could present us with some challenges. I think we have to try to match that physicality." One of the key factors for SWR will be running back Max Barone, who has rushed for 1,126 yards and 23 touchdowns on 189 carries. He said the Wildcats will take the field confident that if the Long Island Championships took place last season, this team could have had dynasty potential. "Coming into the season we knew that if we had the chance last season that we probably would’ve won it again," Barone said. "We knew coming in that this could’ve been our third straight LIC. So we were all excited and knew throughout the season that we had to keep our focus and stay on task so we could defend our title." La Rosa knows that helping North Shore win its first ever Long Island Championship would be an epic experience. "It would mean the absolute world," he said. "Our whole community is behind us. We go out to breakfast every second period and guys are always coming up to us and congratulating us and supporting us — people we don’t even know. Everyone’s behind us on this one." By Mike Ruiz michael.ruiz@newsday.com

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