The Huntington football team staged a fourth quarter rally to upend host Smithtown East on the last day of the regular season last Saturday, 25-20. The victory was the fifth in the past six games for the Blue Devils, who will now advance to the Suffolk Division II playoffs next weekend.
The victory gives Huntington a 5-3 record and fifth place in the 13-team division. The Blue Devils will play at fourth place Bellport (7-1) next Saturday.
Huntington scored first last Saturday on a 15 yard run by Jared Leake. Smithtown East tied it at 7-7 a short time later, but Kei Ron Byrams’ 39 yard touchdown sprint gave the Blue Devils a 13-7 lead by the time the first quarter ended.
Smithtown East went ahead in the second frame and held a 14-13 halftime advantage. The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, with Byrams scoring on a four yard run.
Football is all about
blocking and tackling.
With the Blue Devils trailing 20-19 in the fourth quarter and about five minutes remaining, Kyree Johnson picked off an errant Smithtown East pass and the national track champion darted 25 yards down the sideline for a touchdown to give Huntington a 25-20 lead.
The Bulls mounted a final rally and moved down the field, but Huntington’s defense held tight when it counted most. “Our kids got the job done when we needed them to step up,” Blue Devil head coach Steve Muller said. “I’m really proud of everyone. We played hard.”
Huntington’s ground game was once again hard to contain. Byrams rushed 31 times for 201 yards. Leake ran for 83 yards on six carries. James Shea intercepted a pair of passes. Anthony McDonald led the Blue Devils in tackles.
“It was a tough game for us,” Muller said. Huntington sustained a number of costly penalties and bad breaks, but still managed to find a way to win.
The Blue Devils have outscored their first eight opponents this fall, 177-169. They will face a talented and well-coached opponent in Bellport. The Clippers own victories over Smithtown East (28-7), Centereach (36-20), Copiague (56-0), Deer Park (63-6), Riverhead (42-0), Smithtown West (41-8) and North Babylon (50-14).
Bellport’s only loss came on October 8 when it dropped a 28-6 verdict at first place West Islip. The Clippers have scored 322 points over eight games and yielded just 83.
“We’ll prepare like we always do,” Muller said. “Bellport has a lot of tradition and so do we. They will come at us so we have to be ready. We need to have a good practice every day. “We’re focused. It should be a great game.”