The Huntington football program celebrated another memorable season, with competitive teams at every level of play. The Blue Devil varsity squad reached the Suffolk Division II playoffs, compiling a 5-4 overall mark. All things considered, it was a very good year.
Huntington’s annual football dinner brought about 225 players and their family members together in the high school cafeteria late last week. An impressive buffet consisting of hot and cold items was spread across numerous tables. The dessert table was equally spectacular. Most players tasted at least a little bit of everything, with some returning for seconds and thirds
The Blue Devil coaching staff spoke warmly about their respective teams. In addition to the varsity’s post-season run, the JV squad finished with a 3-5 record, the J. Taylor Finley Middle School eighth grade team went 6-0 and the seventh grade squad was 3-2.
Dozens of trophies were presented to the program’s top players on each of four levels. “We are very fortunate that Huntington football once again turned in a solid year up and down the program,” said Steve Muller, the longtime varsity head coach. “We had a great group of guys to work with. This dinner recognizes their hard work and effort as well as their commitment to their teammates, coaches and the program. We also want to take a moment to formally express our appreciation to the parents of our players. The support us in everything that we do.”
Luke Eidle captured the Blue Devil varsity’s Most Valuable Player Award following an exceptional season at multiple offensive and defensive positions. Eric Sands captured the John Paci Award presented to Huntington’s most outstanding offensive back. Alex LaBella won the Outstanding Receiver Award and Clay Jamison garnered the Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award. John P. Paci IV was recognized with the Outstanding Offensive Player Award.
Lex Colato grabbed the Outstanding Defensive Back Award while Joey Ramos took home the Outstanding Linebacker Award. Shateek Parler earned the Outstanding Defensive Lineman Award. Anthony McDonald garnered the Outstanding Defensive Player Award.
Aaron McQueen was named Special Teams Player of the Year. Eidle also won the Joe Lucey Coach’s Award, which is presented annually in honor of a former 27-year head coach. Sam Bergman was recognized with the Christopher Pettit Award, which is given to the team’s top scholar athlete.
Henry Cartwright won the Steve Henry 12th Man Award. Michael Marziliano captured the Most Improved Player Award for his hard work and dedication to the team.
Jaylen Bush and Tazadon Smith shared the Rookie of the Year Award after they both enjoyed wonderful seasons. Aidan Mrotzek was presented with the Al White Service Award for his integrity, honesty and commitment to the Blue Devil football program.
One of the highlights of the night came when senior Colby Martin was called to the microphone and introduced to the huge crowd. Muller said that Martin often sang for the team to get everyone pumped up. At the awards celebration, the teenager sang Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1978 hit song “September” backed up by the music, which played over a small speaker. Everyone went wild, especially when Martin hit the high notes.
Huntington parent and professional photographer Darin Reed prepared a 15 minute season highlight film that was shown as the dinner. The evening was coordinated by team moms/dinner planners Julie LaBella, Lisa Jamison and Krista McDonald.
The awards dinner is always a happy time for Blue Devil players and their families. The teenagers have fun getting a pat on the back and are happy to get together with their teammates. The crowd brought large appetites so it was fortunate an entire wall of food was available to guests. Once dinner had concluded, it was time for the award presentations to begin.
This year’s honorees included:
The John Paci Award (outstanding offensive back): Eric Sands
Outstanding Receiver Award: Alex LaBella
Outstanding Offensive Linemen Award: Clay Jamison
Most Outstanding Offensive Player Award: John P. Paci IV
Outstanding Defensive Back Award: Lex Colato
Outstanding Linebacker Award: Joey Ramos
Outstanding Defensive Linemen Award: Shateek Parler
Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award: Anthony McDonald
Special Teams Award:
Special Teams Player of the Year: Aaron McQueen
The Joe Lucey Award: (dedication, exemplary tenacity in the face of adversity)
The Coach’s Award: Luke Eidle
Christopher Pettit Award:
Scholar-Athlete: Sam Bergman
The Steve Henry Award:
12th Man Award: Henry Cartwright
Most Improved Award:
Hard working / dedication: Michael Marziliano
Rookie of the Year Award:
Future Contributions to Program: Jaylen Bush, Tazadon Smith
The Al White Service Award:
Integrity, Honesty, Program Commitment: Aidan Mrotzek
Most Valuable Player Award:
Team MVP: Luke Eidle
Junior Varsity Awards:
Outstanding Offensive Player: Torin Bograd
Outstanding Defensive Player: Matt Stoffa
Outstanding Lineman: Kyle Green
JV Coaches Award: Aedan McDonald
8th Grade Awards:
8th Outstanding Offensive Player: Ryan Porzio
8th Outstanding Defensive Player: Bryce Robinson
8th Coaches Award: Jahiem Hawkins
8th Most Valuable Player: Robbie Smith, Josiah Melendez
7th Grade Awards:
7th Outstanding Offensive Player: Anthony Annunziata
7th Outstanding Defensive Player: Sammy Mac Arner