The Huntington varsity football team will look to resume its winning ways on Saturday when it hosts visiting Copiague at Blue Devil Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.
Huntington (1-2) fell at home last weekend to North Babylon (2-1), 35-14. The game was actually closer than the score indicates. The Blue Devils dropped a series of passes, including one that would have gone for a touchdown. They were also stopped on the one yard line after driving in the fourth quarter.
Copiague has fallen to Smithtown East (42-13), Riverhead (35-14) and Half Hollow Hills East (44-21). Huntington defeated the Eagles last year, 41-0.
Huntington and Copiague have previously met 13 times on a football field with the first matchup coming in 1982 in a game won by the Eagles, 41-6. Copiague also claimed victory in 1990 (40-6) and 1991 (39-6). Since then, the Blue Devils have won six consecutive games.
Huntington head coach Steve Muller will enter the game tied with Joe Lucey for the most wins ever by a Blue Devil football coach. Muller is currently 125-84 in 23 seasons. Lucey went 125-95-9 over 27 seasons from 1961-1987.
Huntington fell behind North Babylon early last Saturday, trailing 14-0 after the first quarter and 29-7 at halftime. The Blue Devils had several chances in the second half to make it a close game, but couldn’t convert their opportunities and reach the end zone.
Sophomore Nasir Youngblood scored both of Huntington’s touchdowns. The teenager returned a kickoff 85 yards for the Blue Devils’ first points and later ran 56 yards from scrimmage to score again. Lex Colato converted both extra points.
True to form, North Babylon ran the ball 59 times for 402 yards. The Bulldogs didn’t throw a single pass. Even though Huntington knew what was coming, it was still found it hard to stop the ground attack.
Huntington quarterback JP Paci completed 8-of-19 passes for 67 yards. He also rushed seven times for another 36 yards. The senior found his receivers open numerous times and put the ball in their hands, but many glanced off their fingertips and fell incomplete, stopping whatever momentum the Blue Devils were starting to gather.
Youngblood picked up 72 yards on eight carries. Sebastian Abreu rushed six times for 16 yards and Eric Sands gained a yard on two carries. Jonathan Koumas caught three passes for 23 yards. Chad Rowe had a pair of receptions for 21 yards. Jaylen Bush caught two passes for 18 yards. Sands had a reception for five yards.
Huntington has quickly put the game behind it. The Blue Devil coaches immediately turned their attention to Copiague and correcting all the mistakes they identified in last Saturday’s game.
“It’s really important to learn each week, improve over the previous game and keep cutting down on the mistakes,” Muller said. “We will practice hard like we always do and get ready to do it all over again on Saturday against Copiague.”