After a restricted spring season with limited fans, Seaford’s James McHugh had last Saturday’s homecoming game against Clarke circled on his calendar.
The senior running back lit up the scoreboard before a standing-room-only crowd at Ray Buckley Field of Dreams with 202 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He also made his presence felt on defense with 15 tackles at linebacker as part of a 41-14 win that kept Seaford unbeaten at 6-0 heading into the home stretch of the season.
“This was a game I was looking forward to and I really wanted to go out and put on a show,” said McHugh, who has rushed for 1,003 yards through six games. “I’m just glad that we won and dominated as much as we hoped.”
Clarke (4-2) was the team that took command of the game early with a 14-play opening drive that ate more than eight minutes off the clock and was capped by a six-yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Nick Giardino. A two-point conversion pass from Giardino to junior wide receiver Nick Iannucci made it 8-0 Clarke.
The Clark momentum didn’t last long, however, with John Raucci returning the ensuing kickoff 79-yards for a touchdown. McHugh gave Seaford the lead for good with a 63-yard run early in the second quarter followed by a two-point conversion run that made it 15-8.
The Rams’ offense bounced back with a drive into Seaford territory that stalled with the Vikings stuffed a 4th-and-1 run at the 37-yard line. McHugh answered with an 18-yard touchdown run for a 22-8 advantage at halftime.
“We were able to move the ball pretty well offensively I thought,” first-year Clarke head coach Kevin O’Hagan said. “We had some long and sustained drives, but we didn’t cash in on all of them.”
Senior running back A.J. Barone kept Seaford’s momentum going with a 63-yard scoring run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. After Clarke answered with a three-yard touchdown run by junior Jack Forte, McHugh answered with touchdown runs from 26 and 38 yards to put the game out of reach.
McHugh credits his offensive line for his standout senior season, which includes Eric Schiller, Joe Ulzheimer, Paul Schultz, Hunter Cole and Jack Kellner along with tight end Jack Murphy.
“They are my backbone,” said McHugh of his line. “They create the holes and I just run. They do the hard work and I just get the credit for it.”
Both Seaford and Clarke will now have bye weeks and then have two more regular season games before the playoffs commence in November. Seaford next hosts Malverne on Oct. 23 for a 2 p.m. kickoff and Clarke travels to Cold Spring Harbor for a Friday night game at 7 p.m.
“Clarke is a good team and we knew to get this win was going to be a challenge,” first-year Seaford head coach Mike Corcoran said. “It was huge for us to win this.”