One moment Devon Nelson was the king of the world – or at least Huntington. The next he was driven away in an ambulance.
Nelson, a senior co-captain on the Huntington High School football team, was crowned homecoming king at halftime of Saturday’s game against rival Amityville.
Just minutes into the third quarter, Nelson went down on the field attempting to make a tackle at linebacker and did not get back up. Nelson suffered a right knee injury – likely ligament damage, according to Coach Steve Muller – and eventually was taken to Huntington Hospital for evaluation.
“He’s devastated,” Muller said of his two-way star. “For him to go down in a homecoming game, I think he felt like he let his team down, which is sadder than anything else. That’s a shame.”
It was shaping up as a memorable day.
Wearing his rain- and sweat-soaked uniform – along with a broad smile and powder blue boutonniere pinned to his jersey – Nelson bowed low as Principal Carmela Leonardi placed a crown on his head.
He posed for photos with Homecoming Queen Claire Beach and then ran off to the locker room. It was Americana and it was picture-perfect.
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When Nelson re-emerged he was making blocks and running the ball with ferocity. His 23-yard run to the Amityville 11-yard-line set up fullback Anthony Puca’s 1-yard touchdown to make it 12-0 with 8:56 left in the third.
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Nelson finished the day with 60 yards on 11 carries. Then he transitioned to defense, where his day went horribly wrong.
Huntington’s too. The Blue Devils let Amityville drive 93 yards in the final minutes to score a 20-19 road win.
“He’s our best player,” Muller said. “When you lose your best player, you lose your team captain, your team leader, the guy you look to. It’s tough on the kids.”
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