An explosive offense on Saturday helped the Huntington High School football team captured its first victory of the season as the Blue Devils toppled Smithtown West, 42-20.
But, the star of the game was Eli Mollineaux, who scored a touchdown on a 50-yard run during an exhibition play near the start of the third quarter.
Mollineaux, who has extremely rare mitochondrial condition Pearson’s Syndrome, took to the field before the crowd of around 1,500 spectators at Blue Devil Stadium. The sophomore, who has been very public with his fight against mitochondrial disease, which severely comprises the ability of cells to grow, emerged from the south end zone, surrounded by family and friends.
Former New York Jets great Marty Lyons was on hand to present Mollineaux with an autographed NFL football and game jersey, and to announce that Mollineaux and his family will be guests at an NFL game this fall.
Mollineaux was also honored by Kevin Thorbourne and Kevin Zaharios, founders of the Young Leaders youth development organization; and was given a gift by Huntington Class of 1987 alum and former Blue Devil football player Michael Brown, a partner/owner of NY Auto Giant-Atlantic Auto Group.
The Smithtown West Bulls emerged from their locker room at halftime wearing white jerseys with “Eli” emblazoned on the back. Smithtown West players and coaches presented Mollineaux with one of the team’s white jerseys and offered kind words.
Then, it was time for the Blue Devils to take the field alongside Mollineaux.
With Huntington leading 14-0, the Blue Devils’ offensive unit lined up across from the Smithtown West defense at the 50-yard line. Mollineaux took a handoff and took off in his wheelchair, making a beeline for the goal line. When he crossed over into the end zone, both teams mobbed him, congratulating the teenager and wishing him well.
“Today was yet another day where I and am sure many others felt so proud to be part of the Huntington school community,” Huntington Superintendent James Polansky stated.
Huntington’s offense was also fueled by quarterback John Paci, who completed 4-of-7 passes for 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Wide receiver Keiron Byrams caught one of the touchdown passes, his only catch of the day, good for 55 yards. The other touchdown was thrown to Taquan Goodenhill, who caught two passes for a total of 39 yards.
Running back Jared Leake rushed seven times, accruing 80 yards and two scores.
With a bye this weekend, Huntington is next slated to suit up on homecoming, Saturday, Oct. 1, against Centereach. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.