Let’s get ready to rumble. The Huntington High School football team kicks off its 2017 campaign at Blue Devil Stadium on Saturday at 3 p.m. when it hosts powerful North Babylon in a Suffolk Division II game.
Coached by Steve Muller, Todd Jamison and Andrew White, Huntington scrimmaged Northport, John H. Glenn, Walt Whitman and Harborfields during the preseason. The Blue Devils are captained by seniors Clay Jamison, Sam Bergman, Anthony McDonald and Luke Eidle.
Blue Devil senior Luke Eidle is
a team captain. (Mike Connell photo.)
Muller inserted a new offense for the season and he’s hoping it can control the ball and produce plenty of points. Quarterback John P. Paci IV is the team’s field general with a talented backfield and receiving corps determined to shine. Receiver Alex LaBella is primed to be one of Paci’s frequent passing targets. The senior’s speed makes him dangerous if can break free into open field.
“Everyone has been working hard and we are looking forward to the game,” Muller said. “We look to improve every day in some way. We have a good group of players. Our schedule is always tough. No one is going to lie down for us. We have to go out on the field and play well to win.”
The Huntington varsity football program boasts an overall record of 412-300-30 since 1924. Muller is one of the winningest Blue Devil gridiron coaches in history with a mark of 119-78 and a winning percentage of .604 through his first 21 seasons. Only Joe Lucey (125-95-9 .566 in 27 seasons) has won more games.
A big crowd is expected for Saturday afternoon’s game, which has a later than usual start time because of an ACT exam earlier in the day. The Blue Devil marching band will perform its field show, “Americana” at halftime. The Huntington Highsteppers dance team will also perform at the center of the field. Huntington Booster Club members will be selling refreshments in the field house throughout the game.
Seeded No. 6 among 12 squads in Suffolk Division II, the Blue Devils will sit down to a team dinner on Friday night in the high school cafeteria following their final practice before the season opener. The meal is being provided by parents.
North Babylon is a well-coached team that is coming off a 7-3 record in 2016. The Bulldogs are led by 27th year head coach Terry Manning, who enjoys capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes. Huntington will have to hold its turnovers and penalties to a minimum on Saturday.
2017 Huntington Varsity Football Schedule
- Sept. 9 Home vs. North Babylon @ 3 p.m.
- Sept. 16 Away at Copiague @ 2 p.m.
- Sept. 23 Home vs. West Islip @ 1:30 p.m.
- Sept. 28 Home vs. Deer Park @ 3:30 p.m.
- Oct. 7 Away at Smithtown West @ 5 p.m.
- Oct. 14 Away at Newfield @ 2 p.m.
- Oct. 21 Home vs. Riverhead @ 1:30 p.m.
- Oct. 28 Away at Bay Shore @ 2:30 p.m.