John Haggart's hard running sparked No. 1 Sayville to a 41-14 victory over No. 4 Huntington yesterday in a Suffolk III football semifinal.
Haggart rushed for 116 yards and three scores on 16 carries. Quarterback Zach Sirico added 97 yards on 10 carries, including a 57-yard scamper for Sayville. He also completed 6 of 7 passes for 124 yards.
"That's what we're looking for him to do," coach Jim Knote said of Sirico's all-around contributions. "He's balanced and does a lot of things."
Sayville (10-0) totaled 285 rushing yards and ran for six touchdowns. "We definitely like to ground and pound. If we have to throw it we can, but we like running the ball," Knote said. "Haggart was great running the ball. Without him we would struggle to win. Sirico was big, too, averaging almost 10 yards a carry."
The rushing load was spread out among Haggart, Sirico, Tyler Anderson and Matt Selts, who rushed for 28 yards and two touchdowns.
Sayville's special teams played a major role as well, said Knote, who praised Chris Belcher for electric plays at the start of both halves. Belcher forced a fumble on the game's opening kickoff and then recovered it on Huntington's 10-yard line. That led to a Selts touchdown run. Belcher also returned the opening kickoff of the second half 85 yards to set up another score by Selts.
"He's [Belcher] the fastest guy on the team and he set the tone for us big time today. He hasn't played football for very long so we use him mostly on special teams to make plays," Knote said. The victory extended Sayville's win streak to 22. The Golden Flashes will face No. 3 Westhampton for the county championship Saturday at Stony Brook University at 4 p.m.