Just call Islip quarterback Kieran Mullins the artful dodger.
Long Island's second-leading scorer in lacrosse last spring has put that elusiveness to good use on the football field. Mullins darted, stutter-stepped and changed direction while rushing for 79 crucial yards and two touchdowns Friday night as Islip beat visiting Huntington, 23-18, in a key Suffolk III game.
"I think it's because he's such a great lacrosse player that he has such great vision and such good feet,'' Islip coach Jamie Lynch said. "He's tough and he's smart."
That was evident when he made a highlight-reel maneuver to put Islip ahead 13-6 with 3:15 left in the third quarter. Having already squandered two drives after moving inside the Blue Devils' 10, the Buccaneers faced fourth-and-5 from the Huntington 11. Mullins could not find an open receiver and scrambled to his right. He stopped suddenly, cut back to his left, picked up a key block from Corey Flaherty and scooted into the end zone.
Mullins also used his legs to extend plays in the pocket, twice finding Tim Going for big gains of 23 and 41 yards as Islip controlled time of possession and field position most of the night.
"He's been doing that all year," Lynch said. "He keeps plays alive and our receivers, especially Timmy, do a great job of getting open downfield."
The Bucs improved to 7-1 and clinched the No. 2 seed in their regular-season finale. Huntington, which scored a touchdown on the game's final play to make the final score look closer, finished 5-3.
Mullins gave Islip a 20-6 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard quarterback sneak, but the Blue Devils didn't go away. They moved 80 yards in 11 plays, with Troy Greene scoring from the 2. The PAT was short, leaving Huntington with a 20-12 deficit.
But Mullins and Going hooked up twice for long gains on the next drive, and though it stalled short of the goal line, Eric Rosenthal nailed a 27-yard field goal with 2:55 left that made it 23-12.
Huntington's Ben Kocis, another nimble quarterback who amassed 100 yards rushing on 13 carries and completed 11 of 24 passes for 140 yards, drove the Blue Devils down the field, but not quickly enough against the Bucs' prevent defense.
Kocis hit Christian Jamison for a harmless 4-yard TD pass as the clock hit 0:00. Islip, like its quarterback, had dodged a bullet.