Blue Devils Upend Hauppauge In Quarters
The Huntington High School football team established its ground game early in Saturday’s Suffolk Division III quarterfinal game and went on to defeat Hauppauge 35-14 before a crowd of 800 at Blue Devil Field.
Troy Greene rushed 22 times for 181 yards and Lavar Butts added 118 yards on 17 carries as Huntington amassed 328 yards on the ground to grind out a victory and advance to this weekend’s semifinal round against Bellport.
“We were very effective moving the ball on the ground, which opened up some passing opportunities,” said Steve Muller, the Blue Devils’ longtime head coach. “We executed well and kept our composure.”
No. 5 Hauppauge, which came into the game with a 6-2 mark, was looking to upset No. 4 Huntington on its home field. Huntington quarterback Ben Kocis completed 7-of-9 passes for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kocis’ favorite target was Christian Jamison, who had 5 receptions for 125 yards, including several catches for big gains.
After battling to a 7-7 halftime tie, the Blue Devils scored 21 consecutive second half points to grab a 28-7 lead and grab firm control of the game.
“We knew what we had to do from the beginning, which was come out strong and put up points early. We managed to score on our first drive, which was huge,” Kocis said.
After a scoreless first quarter, Huntington took a 7-0 lead when Kocis zinged a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jamison. Justyn Tesoriero followed with the first of five extra points. The Eagles rallied to tie the score on a 30-yard touchdown pass, but the second half belonged to the Blue Devils.
Greene broke the tie in the third quarter when he raced 8 yards into the end zone for Huntington’s second touchdown of the game. A short while later, Kocis and Jamison teamed up for the pair’s second touchdown of the day, this time from the 5-yard-line.
Butts scored twice in the final frame, with the first coming on a one-yard plunge and the second on an exciting 23-yard run. Hauppauge scored on a 28-yard pass play in between Butts’ touchdowns, but the Eagles were unable to make up any more ground.
While Huntington’s offense hummed, the Blue Devil defense repeatedly came up big, especially when it counted, including a goal-line stand.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our defense,” Muller said.
Butts led the unit with 10 tackles, including three for a loss and three assists. Infinite Tucker had 8 tackles, one assist, a fumble recovery, interception and pass deflection. Greene added 5 tackles, 2 assists, a sack and two pass deflections. Jamison also enjoyed a big game defensively with five tackles, an assist and a pass deflection. Davonte Evans knocked down two passes and intercepted another.
Tim Mattiace had four tackles, including two for a loss and 2 assists. Y’Majesty Allen added 4 tackles, an assist and a pass deflection. Ryan Iwanicki (3 tackles and 2 pass deflections), Jimmie Nelson (3 tackles, including one for a loss and 2 assists) and Matteo McNeil (3 tackles, an assist and a caused fumble) also played stellar games.
Huntington will host No. 6 Bellport (5-4) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Blue Devil Field in the Suffolk Division III semifinals. Admission is $6 for fans 12 years old and up. Huntington defeated Bellport at home on Oct. 26 in a thrilling 17-13 contest.
Bellport upset No. 3 Eastport-South Manor, 14-0 to move into the Final Four.
No. 4 Huntington compiled a 5-3 record during the regular season while the Clippers went 4-4. The Blue Devils have outscored their opponents this fall by a 209-177 margin. Bellport has scored 226 points and surrendered 144 through its first nine games.
Huntington topped Bellport (17-13), Westhampton Beach (35-13), Amityville (27-12), Comsewogue (21-10) and Harborfields (14-6) and lost to Islip (23-18), Miller Place (42-28) and Sayville (44-14) during the regular season.
Coached by Joe Cipp III, Bellport defeated Deer Park (28-14), Sayville (49-21), Kings Park (41-0) and Comsewogue (28-14) and lost to Huntington (17-13), Eastport-South Manor (31-28), Miller Place (15-6) and Islip (30-23) during the regular season.
“Whenever we play Bellport it is a really physical game,” Muller said. “They are very aggressive and keep coming at you. The Cipp’s always put a really good team on the field.”
Still, the Blue Devils are optimistic.
“Our goal from the start of the season was to make the playoffs and get back to Stony Brook for the championship,” Kocis said. “This year especially, we have a great chance at doing that. We are coming off a great win, which should give us momentum going into out next game against Bellport.”