The Huntington varsity football team’s destiny is in its own hands after the Blue Devils upended Smithtown West last Saturday night, 28-23.
Huntington is prepping for a showdown on Saturday afternoon at Newfield, which is arguably the best 1-4 team in Suffolk. The Blue Devils will enter the 2 p.m. contest with a 3-2 mark after outscoring their opposition this fall by a margin of 121-82.
Playing before a Homecoming Day crowd of about 2,000 at Smithtown West, Huntington turned in an explosive first half. Eric Sands scored four touchdowns and quarterback John P. Paci IV connected on a half-dozen passes to Alex LaBella and Luke Eidle to give the Blue Devils a 28-8 halftime lead.
Smithtown West rallied for 15 unanswered second half points and had Huntington on the ropes before the Blue Devils stopped another Bulls march to the end zone. “Our defense came up big when we needed it to,” head coach Steve Muller said.
Once Huntington got the ball back with less than two minutes remaining in the game, Sam Bergman rushed several times and picked up a crucial first down, which effectively ended Smithtown West’s hopes of pulling out a victory.
The game produced many heroes. With top running back Sebastian Abreu sidelined with an ankle injury, Sands rushed 35 times for 175 yards. He stunned Smithtown West and even Blue Devil fans by finding the end zone four times in the first half.
Paci also proved very effective, firing a series of tight spirals into the hands of his receivers. The junior even sprinted 60 yards on one of his three rushes in the game. Placekicker Nat Amato was a perfect four-for-four on extra points. Linebacker Henry Cartwright had a pair of sacks along with five tackles.
Newfield lost close games to undefeated Centereach (18-12) and West Islip (20-14) and also dropped contests to Half Hollow Hills East (32-14) and Bay Shore (14-7). The Wolverines have been outscored in five games, 97-80.
“Newfield is a well-coached team with tough kids,” Muller said. “We have to play a very good game to beat them. One of the keys will be to make as few mistakes as possible.”
The Blue Devils are currently in fifth place in the 12 team Suffolk Division II standings. They hope to move higher during the coming weeks.
Following the game at Newfield on Saturday, Huntington will have two regular season games remaining. The Blue Devils will host Riverhead for a Homecoming Day battle on Saturday, October 21 at 1:30 p.m. Big Blue will travel to Bay Shore on Saturday, October 28 for a 2:30 p.m. contest.