Here come the Blue Devils. (Darin Reed photo.)

Blue Devils Playing Hard While Rebuilding

Here come the Blue Devils. (Darin Reed photo.)

September 20, 2022

Few people dislike losing more than Steve Muller and Anthony Annunziata. But the Huntington High School varsity football head coach and the team’s quarterback are also both realists. The Blue Devils graduated more than 20 seniors last June and need time to rebuild their ranks and gain the experience needed to challenge some of the best squads in Suffolk.

Huntington dropped a 19-0 verdict to West Babylon at Blue Devil Stadium last Saturday before a crowd of about 400. It wasn’t that the team played poorly. It’s that it was outplayed by a talented and more experienced foe.

Once again, Huntington’s defense played well while the offense found it difficult to gain any traction. Huntington has a small roster after losing a large group of players to graduation so when it lost two starters to injuries in the first game of the season at North Babylon it especially stung.

Muller has been in this position before. He knows the only thing he and his staff can do is keep grinding it out. Give the utmost attention to preparation each week. Work on playing mistake-free football. Teach the team how to play the game at a high level.

The J. Taylor Finley Middle School team is suiting up 51 seventh and eighth graders. That’s above average in a year that has seen many other Long Island middle schools struggle to fill out their rosters.

Huntington’s football tradition dates to 1895 when a town team was formed. The high school fielded its first team in 1924. Now in its 99th year, the program is going through a difficult rebuilding process and while it’s sometimes hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, coaches and players know it is there.

The Blue Devils travel to Lindenhurst on Friday night. The Bulldogs are one of the best teams in Suffolk, so Huntington will once again be put to the test.

The Blue Devils have played hard in their first two games. The coaches are proud of the team, despite the loss of both games. “The effort is there,” Muller said. “Everyone is giving it everything they have.”

Even the parents are pitching in. Last Friday night’s team dinner in the cafeteria was a feast and players thanked their hosts on the way out to watch film.

Annunziata, Joseph Algieri and Dominick Vidota are the Blue Devils’ captains. All of them want to win badly. The roster also includes Kei Shan Miller, Hope Bilkey, Christopher Acompora-Miller, Aidan Carrello, Jahmar Francis, David Dje Bi Baleborzan, John Acompora-Miller, Timmy McDonald, Ryan Centeno, Peter Breingan, Agostino Abbatiello, Michael Kline, Joseph Zink, Christian St. John, Cristian Alfaro-Bueso, Riley LaCosta, John Genova, Sammy Mac Arner, Stephon McLeod-Houston, Zachary Zboray, Carmine Carusone, Vito Aloe, Sergemio Cerome, Isaiah Thomas, Silvio Torres, Dawin Preval and Jayden Moore.

There’s no quit in these Blue Devils.