The Huntington football team is down to its last regular season game and a victory over state ranked West Islip next Saturday at home would almost certainly clinch a spot in the Suffolk Division II playoffs.
Huntington (3-4) toppled visiting Smithtown East (5-2) last Saturday on Homecoming Day, 32-20. The Blue Devils came from behind before a crowd of about 2,000, which packed the grandstand and spilled out along either side of the structure.
The Bulls came in to the game ranked among the top Class AA teams in the state. The New York State Sportswriters Assn. listed Smithtown East in its honorable mention section, placing the team among the best 50 in New York.
Huntington quarterback John Paul Paci had his biggest day of the season completing 10-of-15 passes for 275 yards, including a 52 yard touchdown pass to Chad Rowe. The Blue Devils also scored on an eight yard run by Eric Yards, a nine yard dash by Nasir Youngblood and a 42 yard gallop by Sebastian Abreu. Huntington also found the end zone on a 41 yard interception return by Jack Stewart.
The Blue Devils scored first in the game, but missed the point after. Smithtown East responded by scoring on a 23 yard run and successfully converting the extra point to take a 7-6 first quarter lead. It was all Huntington the rest of the way, although the Bulls did manage to stage a late game rally that kept the big crowd on the edge of its seats.
Jordan McCoy had four receptions for 125 yards for the Blue Devils and Tazadon Smith and Jon Koumas notched quarterback sacks. While Huntington made some mistakes, including racking up a few costly penalties, overall the team played well.
The Lions will come into Saturday’s 2 p.m. game with a 7-0 record. They have topped Bellport (29-28), Centereach (38-0), Smithtown West (37-14), Northport (28-0), Half Hollow Hills East (56-14), Lindenhurst (17-14) and North Babylon (42-19).
“West Islip has a lot of football tradition and is a very well coached team,” Huntington head coach Steve Muller said. “They’re having a great season, but we plan to work hard all week and play hard on Saturday. I’m sure that West Islip is expecting a good game and we want to be ready and give them everything we have.”