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 200 players and their family members together in the high school cafeteria late last week. An expansive buffet consisting of hot and cold items was spread across numerous tables. The dessert table was equally impressive. Most players sampled a little bit of everything, with some filling two or three plates.
The Blue Devil coaching staff spoke warmly and sometimes humorously about their respective teams. In addition to the varsity’s post-season run, the JV squad finished with a 3-4-1 record, the J. Taylor Finley Middle School eighth grade team went 6-0 and the seventh grade squad was also 6-0.
About two dozen trophies were presented to the program’s top players on each of four levels. “Huntington football turned in a very solid year,” said Steve Muller, the longtime varsity head coach. “We had a fantastic group of guys to work with. This dinner recognizes their hard work, effort and commitment to their teammates and the program. We also want to express our appreciation to our player’s parents, who are very supportive of everything we do.”
KeiRon Byrams earned the Blue Devil varsity’s Most Valuable Player Award following a sensational campaign in the offensive backfield and at linebacker. Jared Leake captured the John Paci Award presented to Huntington’s most outstanding offensive back. Kyree Johnson won the Outstanding Receiver Award and Khari McNeil garnered the Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award. Byrams was also recognized with the Outstanding Offensive Player Award.
James Shea grabbed the Outstanding Defensive Back Award while Anthony McDonald took home the Outstanding Linebacker Award. Eddie Daly earned the Outstanding Defensive Lineman Award. McDonald also garnered the Outstanding Defensive Player Award.
Donald Stewart was named Special Teams Player of the Year. Nick Lanzisero 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.
Ryan Stieve won the Steve Henry 12th Man Award. Clayton Jamison captured the Most Improved Player Award for his hard work and dedication to the team.
John P. Paci IV won the Rookie of the Year Award after a wonderful season as the team’s quarterback. Thomas Stock was presented with the Al White Service Award for his integrity, honesty and commitment to the Blue Devil football program. After being called to the front of the room, Mr. Stock sang several verses of a song, to the delight of his teammates and the entire crowd filling the large cafeteria.
Byrams and McDonald were both named All-County. The pair was also selected as first team All-Division along with Leake, McNeil and Daly. Shea, Jamison, Bergman and Lanzisero were all recognized as second team All-Division.
Finley’s top players and their coaches were also on hand to be recognized. “We have some outstanding players returning to the varsity next fall as well as a lot of talent coming from the JV and Finley teams,” Muller said. “If we all work hard, we’ll continue to be a very competitive program.”
The awards dinner is always an enjoyable evening for Blue Devil players. They have fun getting a pat on the back and are happy to get together with their teammates. The teenagers brought large appetites along with them so it was fortunate that 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): Jared Leake
Outstanding Receiver Award: Kyree Johnson
Outstanding Offensive Linemen Award: Khari McNeil
Most Outstanding Offensive Player Award: KeiRon Byrams
Outstanding Defensive Back Award: James Shea
Outstanding Linebacker Award: Anthony McDonald
Outstanding Defensive Linemen Award: Eddie Daly
Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award: Anthony McDonald
Special Teams Award:
Special Teams Player of the Year: Donald Stewart
The Joe Lucey Award:
The Coach’s Award: Nicholas Lanzisero
Christopher Pettit Award:
Scholar-Athlete: Sam Bergman
The Steve Henry Award:
12th man Award: Ryan Stieve
Most Improved Award:
Hard working / dedication: Clayton Jamison
Rookie of the Year Award:
Future Contributions to Program: John P. Paci IV
The Al White Service Award:
Integrity, Honesty, Program Commitment: Thomas Stock
Most Valuable Player Award:
Team MVP: KeiRon Byrams
Junior Varsity Awards:
Outstanding Offensive Player: Patrick Durand
Outstanding Defensive Player: Joey Ramos
JV Coaches Award: Aidan Mrotzek
8th Grade Awards:
8th Outstanding Offensive Player: Torid Bograd, Nasir Youngblood
8th Outstanding Defensive Player: Jason Turner
8th Coaches Award: Liam Hassett
8th Most Valuable Player: Chad Rowe, Jr.
7th Grade Awards:
7th Outstanding Offensive Player: Kevin Drake
7th Outstanding Defensive Player: Robbie Smith
7th Most Valuable Player: Josiah Melendez