Half Hollow Hills quarterback Sami Heyman in a flag football...

Half Hollow Hills quarterback Sami Heyman in a flag football game against on Saturday. Credit: Rick Kopstein

Mike Lupa gathered his first-year flag football team, and the coach spelled out what he wanted in crystal-clear terms to the girls joining the combined cause from Half Hollow Hills East and Half Hollow Hills West. 

“When we had our first meeting of the season, I told the girls that I have one goal and one goal only,” Lupa said. “I can’t coach to be mediocre. I want to coach to win. [The Suffolk championship] has been the goal since day one. We have our eyes set on it. It’s very good competition in our league. And we’re one of those teams.” 

Half Hollow Hills showed it again Saturday at Hills West, beating defending county champ Whitman, 18-6, to move to 10-1 overall and 7-1 in Suffolk I.     

“We’re going all the way, Suffolk first, then Long Island,” Sami Heyman said. 

Heyman is the freshman quarterback for a team that has outscored the opposition 311-69. Heyman and senior Jahniya McCreary were at the forefront of this latest win. 

Heyman went 16-for-31 for 144 yards and one touchdown, and she ran for another score. 

“She is a playmaker,” Lupa said. “She takes charge of the huddle. She takes charge of the offense. She makes key play after key play. She’s a winner.” 

McCreary caught her touchdown pass and made seven receptions for 64 yards overall. The receiver/linebacker also returned an interception for the go-ahead score, and she topped the team with eight flag pulls. 

“She’s the heart of the offense,” Lupa said. “She’s the heart of the defense. She’s a one-in-a-lifetime type of player.”

Half Hollow Hills had to punt following the first possession of the second half. It was 6-6.

“The score was a tight and I didn’t want it to be tight anymore,” McCreary said. “We needed this win. We wanted it more than anything.” 

McCreary said assistant coach Maddy Combs had a message for her: “It’s time for a pick-6.” 

And McCreary delivered it three plays later. Ava Seifert, who went 15-for-24 for 152 yards with one TD and three INTs, fired over the middle. McCreary intercepted the ball and took it 21 yards for the lead. 

Then Jolie Boyle’s interception set up Heyman’s 8-yard toss to McCreary in the right side of the end zone for the 12-point advantage with 6:55 left. 

“The throw, it was iffy,” Heyman said. “But she has those hands.”

The Wildcats (7-2-1, 5-2-1) grabbed a 6-0 lead on the day’s second play. Seifert hit Iris Hoffman for a 49-yard touchdown. But Heyman quickly countered with a 1-yard scoring run. 

“They only scored 12 [points] on offense . . . so defensively we played great,” Whitman coach Ralph Milazzo said. “We’ve got to figure it out a little bit on offense.”

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