The Huntington High School varsity football team’s 98th season will kick-off on Saturday as the Blue Devils host powerful West Islip at 1:30 p.m.
Huntington is led by team captains Josiah Melendez, Robert Smith, Lucas Petrizzi and Liam McDonald. Junior Anthony Annunziata will call signals as the Blue Devil quarterback.
Huntington will go into battle behind head coach Steve Muller and assistant coaches Kevin Graham, Jim Byrnes, Ron Wilson, Andrew White and Todd Jamison.
Muller is the Blue Devil football program’s all-time winningest coach with a record of 134-93 in 25 seasons. “I’m proud to be coaching these young men this year and looking forward to a great season with them,” he said.
Huntington High School vocalists Lauren Holly, Ashley Genao, Sydney Cordiero, Hannah Roberts, Samuel James, Dylan Brinn and David Chavez will perform the national anthem prior to the start of Saturday’s game. The Blue Devil marching band and the Huntington Highsteppers competitive dance team will both perform at halftim.
The Huntington football program traces its roots to 1895 when a local team was formed. It included players from around the town and was not sponsored by the high school.
Plans to start a school team in 1918 were interrupted by the worldwide influenza pandemic and a later attempt was stopped when the teacher slated to coach the team moved back to Michigan. A Huntington High School team comprised of current students was finally formed in 1924.
Huntington played its first varsity football game on October 4, 1924 at Far Rockaway. The first Huntington football victory came on October 31, 1925 when the blue and white shutout Hicksville, 33-0.
West Islip is seeded No. 2 among 14 teams in Suffolk Division II. The Blue Devils are ranked No. 8.
In 33 previous meetings between these two teams, West Islip holds a 24-9 edge. Huntington last defeated the Lions in 1997 by a 20-7 score. The teams met for the first time in 1959. The Blue Devils won the first six games played.
The Blue Devils have a rich football tradition. The Huntington football team’s longest winning streak is 10 games, having come over parts of the 1947 and 1948 seasons.
The Blue Devils won the Rutgers Trophy in 1948, 1949 and 1952 signifying county dominance. Two Huntington football players have won the Hansen Award, presented to Suffolk’s best player. Darren Ward captured the Hansen in 1987 and John Paci won the 1989 Hansen Award
In 97 seasons the Huntington football program has compiled a record of 427-315-30. Joe Lucey served as head coach longer than anyone else, clocking 27 seasons with a record of 125-95 between 1961-1987.
“The Huntington football program has a great tradition and we hope to add to it this fall,” Muller said.