The Huntington football team overcame a rocky start that saw it turn the ball over three times in the first quarter and ran away from Copiague last Saturday at Blue Devil Stadium, 46-0. The victory was head coach Steve Muller’s 126th to make him the winningest gridiron coach in the program’s long history.
Huntington moved the ball well in the opening minutes, but repeated turnovers stymied the team’s march to the end zone each time. The Blue Devils finally scored on a broken play when quarterback JP Paci scrambled to avoid being sacked and fired a strike across the middle of the field to Chad Rowe who took off for a 60 yard touchdown.
Huntington scored 33 points in the second quarter to effectively put the game away. The victory evened the Blue Devils’ record at 2-2 in Suffolk Division II play. The team plays at Newfield on Friday night at 5:30 p.m.
Paci enjoyed another fine afternoon, connecting on 9-of-16 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns. “We really played well after a slow start,” the senior said. “Friday night vs. Newfield is a big game for us and we need to bring that same energy as we did this past week into that game and the rest of our season.”
Leading 6-0, Huntington kept right on scoring. Sebastian Abreu reached the end zone on a four yard run and Paci found Jon Koumas open for a nine yard touchdown pass. Jordan McCoy intercepted a Copiague pass and ran it back for a 33 yard touchdown. Paci then tossed a tight spiral to Jaylen Bush for a 33 yard touchdown.
The Blue Devils scored two more times in the third quarter. Abreu rushed for a three yard touchdown and Nasir Youngblood scored on a sleek 20 yard scoring run.
Koumas paced Huntington’s defense with seven tackles, including two for a loss and a forced fumble. The game featured many hard hits, which electrified the crowd of 750.
The sun-baked afternoon saw halftime festivities that included performances by the Blue Devil marching band and the Huntington Highsteppers dance team. The Huntington Booster Club threw tee-shirts into the crowd. Mr. Blue Devil also made an appearance.
Huntington played a good game. Fullback Eric Sands had his most productive performance of the season. Lex Colato kicked a pair of extra points and launched several long punts. The Blue Devil offensive and defensive lines did their jobs well.
Huntington Class of 1968 members were in the bleachers for the game. The group celebrated its 50th reunion last week with various get-togethers around town including a Saturday night dinner dance.
The victory improved Muller’s mark over 23 seasons to 126-84. He’s a 1979 Huntington graduate and spent several years on the Blue Devil football staff before being elevated to the varsity head coach post in 1995.
Saturday’s victory allowed Muller to pass Huntington legend Joe Lucey, who compiled a mark of 125-95-9 in 27 seasons as the Blue Devil football team’s head coach from 1961-1987.
Huntington needs to play well on Friday night at Newfield. The Wolverines are 1-3, but feature many fine players. After opening the season with a 35-34 victory over Riverhead, they have dropped consecutive games to North Babylon (60-21), Lindenhurst (33-28) and Smithtown East (38-24).
“Newfield always comes ready to play,” Muller said. “We need to prepare for another tough game.”