The Huntington football team held off a fourth quarter rally by Half Hollow Hills East in dramatic fashion to nip the Thunderbirds on their Homecoming Day, 20-19.
The Blue Devils opened a 20-6 lead, but Hills East came roaring back. After closing to within a point with just 1:13 remaining in the game, the Thunderbirds attempted what would have been a go-ahead two-point conversion. While the play itself was successful, the conversion was nullified by a Hills East penalty. Huntington’s Will Vollack stopped the second attempt and then ran out the clock.
The victory gives the Blue Devils a 3-2 mark this fall. It’s Huntington’s third straight victory. “We are very happy to win this game,” head coach Steve Muller said. “Hills East is a well-coached team with some great players who execute well. We knew it would be a tough game and that we would have to play hard on every down to win.”
Huntington’s ground game was formidable, with Blue Devil running backs amassing more than 260 yards rushing. Quarterback KeiRon Byrams ran for 122 yards on 13 carries. Jared Leake rushed 14 times for 100 yards and Sam Bergman ran nine times for 40 yards. All three backs scored touchdowns.
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 6-0 lead on a six yard run by Byrams in the first quarter. Bergman scored on a three yard run in the second quarter and Leake followed with a two point conversion to give the Blue Devils a 14-0 advantage. Hills East responded with a drive of its own, which resulted in a touchdown to cut the Thunderbirds’ deficit to 14-6 by halftime.
Huntington scored again in the third quarter when Leake reached the end zone with a one yard plunge to give the Blue Devils a 20-6 lead. Hills East came storming back with a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns, the second of which set-up the game’s dramatic finish.
Byrams completed two of four passes for 24 yards. Kyree Johnson caught one pass for 18 yards and Taqwan Gooden-Hill also had a reception for eight yards.
James Shea led the Huntington defense with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Huntington hosts Copiague next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Blue Devil Stadium.