Seeded sixth in the Suffolk Division II playoff bracket, the Huntington football team will play at No. 3 North Babylon on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Blue Devils finished the regular season with a 5-3 record. Huntington fell at home last weekend to undefeated defending county champion Lindenhurst (8-0), 34-7. North Babylon upended No. 2 West Islip, 34-21 to improve to 6-2.
Fans planning to attend the game at North Babylon should be prepared to show a photo ID at the entrance gate. There is no admission charge.
Huntington was never really able to get anything going last Saturday afternoon against Lindenhurst, which opened a gaping 21-0 first quarter lead. The Blue Devils were never able to recover. Interceptions, fumbles, penalties and Lindenhurst’s penchant for making big plays were too formidable of a combination to overcome.
Huntington will look upon last Saturday’s positives and continue to build upon them, but otherwise but the game far behind it as it prepares to take on a well-coached North Babylon team.
Nasir Youngblood rushed 13 times for 97 yards and a touchdown. Youngblood has now carried the ball 130 times for 1,144 yards and 16 touchdowns this fall.
Quarterback Torin Bograd completed eight of 15 passes for 72 yards and an interception. Jon Koumas caught five passes for 47 yards. Aedan McDonald blocked an extra point attempt.
Koumas led Huntington with a dozen tackles. Robbie Smith had eight tackles, a quarterback sack and a forced fumble. Tazadon Smith recorded five tackles and Jaylen Bush brought down four ball carriers. Vinny Caravetto and Gary Barash recovered fumbles. Rahliek Thomason forced a fumble.
Huntington is obviously looking to play well at North Babylon on Saturday. The season is over for the team that loses.
“We have to focus up and have a better week of practice,” said Lex Colato, who rushed for 17 yards and had a pair of tackles last Saturday. “We have a great opportunity to do something in this league, but it starts with practice.”
North Babylon has a legendary football tradition with a long list of league, county and Long Island championships during the storied career of head coach Terry Manning. Huntington will need to play as close to mistake-free football as possible on Saturday if it wants to advance to the Suffolk semifinals.
“We just have to focus and work hard this week,” said Koumas, who along with Colato and McDonald is a team captain. “I think we’re going to make it very far this year.”
Huntington head coach Steve Muller and assistant coaches Todd Jamison and Kevin Graham all know that a near perfect week of practice is essential to success next weekend and the Blue Devil players know it, too.
“Our playoff plan is to give everything all of us have,” Bograd said. “We are going to work our hardest all week because we all want the same thing; to win the county championship. It’s going to be a big game and we are all going to have to play hard. I believe in our team and know we can get it done.”
All 32 teams in the four Suffolk divisional football tournament brackets are striving to win a respective title and Huntington is no different. “The major plan for playoffs is to bring home the crown,” Youngblood said. “I feel like we have a good chance this year. Just knock down every week with a win, one by one. I believe in my teammates.”