Blue Devils Headed To Suffolk Finals
As Levar Butts headed into the Huntington High School football team’s Friday night dinner he said all he could think about was winning; not personal statistics or recognition. His teammates seconded the sentiment and then went out on Saturday and bested visiting Bellport, 41-12 to advance to the Suffolk Division III finals this weekend at Stony Brook University.
A crowd of 1,500 turned out to watch the Blue Devil offense explode in a scoring frenzy. While Troy Greene and Ben Kocis played starring roles, there were many members of the supporting cast.
“This was a team effort all the way,” said Steve Muller, Huntington’s head coach. “Everyone had a job to do and they did it well.”
Huntington (7-3) will face Sayville (6-4) for the Section XI Division III championship at Stony Brook’s LaValle Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Golden Flashes upset previously undefeated and top-seeded Miller Place (9-1) in a wild game, 35-27. The Blue Devils haven’t appeared in the county finals since 2006.
Huntington struck early last Saturday, scoring on its first possession when quarterback Kocis (5-of-11 for 112 yards) found wide receiver Infinite Tucker open for a 49-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes into the first quarter. The Blue Devils played an energetic, aggressive game and kept their mistakes to a minimum. The big crowd roared after long kickoff returns by Butts and Tucker. A large group of students stood and cheered throughout the contest.
Trailing 6-0, Bellport tied the score on a 4-yard pass play, but then the Blue Devils took control of the game, scoring 21 unanswered points. Tucker set up the go-ahead touchdown with an 87-yard kickoff return to the Clippers’ 13-yard-line. A short time later, Greene found the end zone on a one-yard plunge to put Huntington ahead, 13-6.
Butts and Greene both scored on one-run runs in the second quarter to give the Blue Devils what turned out to be an insurmountable 27-6 advantage.
“I think the key to our victory was everyone playing together as one unit,” Kocis said. “We all did our jobs and clearly, whenever we can do that, it has a positive outcome. The team is totally dedicated to winning, just as we have been all season.”
Kocis (5 carries for 40 yards) added a 21-yard touchdown run in the third frame and Butts (12 carries for 86 yards) closed out Huntington’s scoring with a 35-yard sprint to the end zone in the fourth quarter. Christian Jamison caught three passes for 47 yards and had 2 tackles and an assist on defense to go along with an interception and pass deflection.
Greene finished with 17 carries for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns on offense and recorded 14 tackles on defense, including three for a loss. He assisted on another tackle and recovered a fumble. The teenager’s extra effort saw him grind out additional yardage on a string of rushes sometimes requiring two, three or even four Bellport defenders to bring him down.
“Troy gave us everything he had,” Muller said. “His intensity was outstanding.”
Butts was a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball. Whether it was returning kicks, rushing, blocking or tackling, he seemed to be wherever the action was during Saturday’s game. The senior finished with 6 tackles, 2 assists and a quarterback sack.
“We had a game plan and we executed it perfectly,” Jamison said. Tucker had a pair of receptions for 65 yards and recorded 9 tackles, an assist and 2 pass deflections on defense. Y’Majesty Allen had 9 tackles, an assist, 2 pass deflections and 2 forced fumbles. Tim Mattiace enjoyed another superb game with 4 tackles, 2 assists, an interception and a pass deflection.
While Bellport’s passing game proved effective at times, the Blue Devils limited the Clippers to just 47 yards on the ground.
“Our defense really stepped up and made some big plays,” Muller said.
The Blue Devils are expecting a fierce battle on Saturday night. Sayville defeated Huntington at Blue Devil Field during the regular season, 44-12.
“Our mindset for next week is to play the efficient, smart football that we showed in today’s game,” Kocis said after Saturday’s victory over Bellport. “Our coaches always tell us that we will make mistakes, but the team who can get past those is the team that is going to win.”
The Golden Flashes have won the last three Suffolk Division III titles and are currently riding a four-game winning streak.
“It is a well-coached team that doesn’t make many mistakes,” Muller said. “We need to be on our game. This is what we’ve been working for all season. All of us are focused.”