Ask any coach and they will tell you that ball control along with blocking and tackling is the key to winning football games. The Blue Devils proved just that last Saturday as Huntington bested Newfield on its home field, 21-14.
Despite having to do without several key players who sat out of the game with injuries, Huntington was impressive. Newfield scored first on a 64 yard run on their Homecoming Day, but the Blue Devils responded by reeling off 21 unanswered points to take a commanding 21-7 second half lead.
Huntington (4-2) played its best game of the season while moving past the Wolverines, who despite their 1-5 record are a very good football team. Blue Devil head coach Steve Muller admitted he was completely consumed with the game all last week and he played out different scenarios at practice every afternoon and in his mind all night long at home.
Trailing by a touchdown on Saturday afternoon, quarterback John Paci scampered 46 yards and found the end zone. Placekicker Nat Amato followed with the first of three extra points and the Blue Devils were on their way.
After scoring four times against Smithtown West, Eric Sands proved he’s for real by rushing 21 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns. “We played a full four quarters to get the win,” Sands said. “We knew it was wasn’t going to be easy. They’re a great team, but we just played our game.”
For the second straight week, Paci was masterful directing Huntington’s offense. His decisive decision making and fancy footwork helped lift the Blue Devils to a key victory and put the team within reach of a post-season berth.
“I think the key to our success was people stepping up when others were struggling,” Paci said. “I think the team is in great shape going into the last two games.”
Linebacker Luke Eidle sparkled on defense, covering plenty of ground from sideline to sideline and recording 10 tackles. “It says a lot about our defense that it held Newfield scoreless in the fourth quarter when we were only ahead by seven points,” Muller said.
Huntington is pulling together tighter than ever as the season enters its most crucial stage. To beat Newfield required the Blue Devils to play as close to mistake-free football as is probably possible on the high school level and the team did it.
“I would say that the key to today’s win was that when players got hurt, the next man up stepped in and did a great job and we came out strong in the second half,” said Eidle after the game. “As we go into the last two games, I feel very confident that we can come out with two big wins and punch a ticket to the playoffs.”
Huntington has two regular season games remaining. The Blue Devils host Riverhead (3-3) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in a Homecoming Day game and then travel to Bay Shore (2-4) on Saturday, October 28 for a contest that kicks-off at 2:30 p.m.