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James McHugh carries Seaford football over Wantagh to close regular season

James McHugh #1 of Seaford celebrates after scoring

James McHugh #1 of Seaford celebrates after scoring with a teammate Kyle Phieffer #19 during the football game against Wantagh on Apr 17, 2021. Credit: Anna Sergeeva

Seaford’s pride was showing after pulling free in Saturday’s second half and rolling to a 32-6 win against the visitors from Wantagh. The Vikings claimed a victory every time out in their five-game regular season. So the confidence of this football team also couldn’t be beaten.

"I am so proud of these kids; you have no idea, because we really started out from ground zero," coach Rob Perpall said. "My coaching staff, I couldn’t be more proud of them, too, because there ain’t no way this is happening without them."

"This is a great win for us," he added about the first meeting between the teams in 22 years. "When you beat Wantagh, you beat one of the best."

North Shore beat Wantagh last month, 26-12, and is the other Nassau IV team to go 5-0 in conference games. Wantagh dropped to 3-2.

Seaford defeated Cold Spring Harbor in the title game last season. The playoff seedings will be announced Sunday.

"It feels incredible," Vikings running back/middle linebacker James McHugh said of going 5-0. "We work hard every day in practice."

McHugh did his part against Wantagh, carrying 35 times for 165 yards and three touchdowns. The junior also ran twice for two-point conversions and left his imprint at middle linebacker, contributing a team-high 13 tackles and an interception.

"We ran the same play over and over again," McHugh said. "Over time, they knew it was coming, but our guys just got there first."

It was close at the intermission: Seaford 8, Wantagh 6.

In the second half, however, Nick Luciano recovered a fumble for the Vikings at their 49 on the second play from scrimmage and they took off from there.

McHugh scored on a run from the 1, and Jake Murphy powered in for two points.

Wantagh responded by moving to the Seaford 31. Bryan Picirillo, who threw for 104 yards, rolled right and fired. But McHugh intercepted at the 18.

The offense then went on a 12-play, 82-yard trip, with McHugh taking a pitch and running right for the final yard. He also ran in the two-point conversion, good for a 24-6 lead with 9:22 left. McHugh added a 5-yard scoring run and carried for two more points.

"I thought that they blocked well up front," Wantagh coach Keith Sachs said.

Kyle Stark hit Robert Necco for an 11-yard score and a two-point pass 5:57 into the game. Tyler Martini plowed in from the 1 on the ensuing drive for Wantagh’s lone score.

"The coaches, they gave us a great speech at halftime," Stark said. "They called a great game."

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