Blue Devils Fall in Home Opener
The Huntington High School football team is 1-2. The Blue Devils are playing very hard. These might seem like contradictory sentences until the reader learns that eight starters have been sidelined by injury, seriously undermining the team's championship dreams.
It was more of the same last Saturday afternoon when Huntington lost another starter with Thomas Mulligan being forced off the field. Still, the Blue Devils gave visiting Miller Place all it could handle before dropping a 22-14 verdict and falling to eighth place in Suffolk Division III.
Huntington scored first when quarterback Dan Plant connected on a five-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Greenhill. Patrick Reilly booted the extra point through the uprights and the crowd of about 800 fans at Blue Devil Field cheered.
Miller Place proved to be a worthy opponent. Quarterback Matt Hinchy completed 11 of 16 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns and the team's ground game covered more than 150 yards. The Panthers' defense was also up to the task.
With the teams knotted in a 7-7 halftime tie, each coaching staff knew their squads would have to pick up the pace of play in the second half. Huntington spotted Miller Place a third quarter touchdown but stopped the extra point. The Blue Devils regained their lead on a 31 yard touchdown run by Plant. Reilly again converted the extra point and Huntington was on top, if only temporarily, 14-13.
In some ways this was a game where the number "one" played a key role. Huntington scored the first points of the game with less than one minute remaining in the first half. Miller Place followed by returning the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Blue Devils' 11 yard line before stepping out of bounds with one second remaining. On the next play, the visitors scored a touchdown.
In the second half, with Huntington battling to survive, the Blue Devils fell short of a badly needed first down by a mere inch. That failure effectively ended the team's chance of winning the game.
Huntington played hard right to the final whistle, but never could make up its deficit. "We are hurting right now," head coach Steve Muller said. "We hope to get as healthy as we can and go from there. Right now, our focus is on our next game."
Huntington travels to Sayville on Saturday (October 1) for a 2 p.m. game against the defending county champion Golden Flashes. Sayville is 3-0 and in first place in Division III.
Blue Devil Notes: New Superintendent James W. Polansky was on the sidelines for the game and received a warm welcome from the crowd when he was introduced over the public address system. He smiled broadly and waved to fans . . . Members of Huntington High School's Class of 1971 were also in the grandstand for the game. The alums were in town for their 40th reunion. Donald Lurye, MD, salutatorian of the Class of 1971, was the first member of the group to arrive . . . Blue Devil sports great Calvin Bollar, who graduated with the Class of 2011 last June, cheered for the team from the sidelines . . . A pep band played stadium rock throughout the game . . . The Blue Devil marching band performed its 2011 field show at halftime . . . The Highsteppers, Huntington High School's competitive dance team, also performed at halftime to rave reviews . . . The Booster Club sold athletic apparel, food and refreshments throughout the game.