No one in Suffolk thought the Huntington High School boys’ soccer team would be this good, but the Blue Devils have been surprising the county this fall.
Huntington graduated many of its top players and the starting lineup includes more than a few underclassmen. But longtime head coach John Pagano has his team riding high five games into the season. The Blue Devils are 4-1 after defeating highly touted Newfield, 2-1.
Huntington has toppled Connetquot (2-1), Sachem East (4-2), Smithtown West (2-1) and Newfield. The Blue Devils’ only loss came at Rocky Point, 3-1.
Earlier this week, Newfield took a 1-0 first half lead. But Huntington didn’t panic. The Blue Devils methodically moved the ball around the field until Manny Reyes passed to Freddy Amador who put a shot past Louie Chen to tie the score with about 12 minutes remaining in the half. Just two minutes later it was Amador passing to Reyes, who scored what proved to be the winning goal. Blue Devil goalie Nat Amato made nine saves in the net.
Eight Huntington players have scored goals in the first five games. Amador has two goals and three assists and Eren Aydin has three goals. Freddie Amato (1g, 2a), Alex Rivera (1g, 1a), Luis Ortiz (1g, 1a), Jose Turcios (1g), John Tucker (1g), Julien Rentch (1a) and Aidan Forbes (1a) have also notched points for the Blue Devils. Returning All-County goalie Nat Amato has stopped 31 shots.
Pagano and assistant coach Jason Suarez have developed a winning program at all levels in the district. The pair spent several days giving free clinics last spring at several Huntington elementary schools.
The Blue Devils have many talented players in the pipeline. The program has hit a winning stride. Huntington wasn’t ranked in a pre-season poll among the top 15 teams in Suffolk Class AA this fall, but with each victory the squad is gaining many believers across the county.