There have been many magical Saturday afternoons since the Huntington football team took the field for the first time in 1895. Last week was one of them.
Kei Ron Byrams ran for more than 200 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Blue Devils to their fourth consecutive victory as Huntington topped visiting Copiague, 49-0.
Byrams rushed 24 times for 202 yards and scored touchdowns on runs covering two, four and 19 yards. Jared Leake (seven carries for 107), Eric Sands (12 carries for 55 yards), Sam Bergman (six carries for 36 yards) and Matt Mattiace (three carries for six yards) also scored rushing touchdowns for the Blue Devils.
The victory improved Huntington’s record to 4-2 this season with a pair of games remaining on the schedule. The Blue Devils will host undefeated West Islip on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The Lions own wins over Deer Park (52-0), Riverhead (41-0), Newfield (41-14), North Babylon (24-21), Bellport (28-6) and Half Hollow Hills West (16-13 in overtime).
Huntington assistant coach
Quarterback John Paci proved adept at running Huntington’s offense. The sophomore completed the only pass he threw for 20 yards when he connected with Anthony McDonald. But, the ground game was the day’s big story as the Blue Devils rushed 54 times for 444 yards.
James Shea paced the Huntington defense with his seventh interception of the fall along with five tackles and a fumble recovery. The Blue Devils kept their counterparts in check all afternoon.
Placekicker Jose Veliz successfully converted five extra points. The Blue Devils also notched a two-point conversion when Alex LaBella completed a pass to Shea following the last touchdown of the game.
Huntington simply overwhelmed Copiague, building an insurmountable 34-0 halftime lead. “We came out ready to play and everything clicked,” said Steve Muller, the Blue Devils’ head coach. We blocked and tackled well and the running backs did their jobs well. John Paci was great at quarterback for us.”
Halftime entertainment included a show by the Blue Devil marching band and color guard and an exciting performance by the Huntington Highsteppers competitive dance team. The Booster Club manned the field house, selling an assortment of drinks and food items.
The game was played before a crowd that included many alumni dating back to the 1940’s, including Paul Johnson of Huntington’s Class of 1949. He sat in the first row of the bleachers and blended right in with all the other Blue Devil fans. Superintendent James W. Polansky and Principal Brendan Cusack were down on the sidelines.
“It was a great afternoon, but our attention is now on West Islip,” Muller said. “We want to have a good week of practice and come out strong on Saturday.”
Huntington has outscored its six opponents this year by a 145-121 margin. “We have a lot of work to do over the next couple of weeks,” Muller said. “We always expect 100 percent effort from every player and coach in practice and in games. We are looking to improve every day.”
The Blue Devils will complete the regular season schedule on Saturday, October 29 at Smithtown East. Kickoff is 2 p.m.