PATERSON, NJ -- As summer winds down, families return from the beach and their holidays, and kids get ready to go back to school, the Hackensack High School Comets and Paterson Eastside got back on the gridiron early on Friday. The Comets did not skip the chance to be seen, demolishing the Ghosts with a 53-18 victory to open their season.
Hackensack did not waste any time, forcing a fumble defensively on Eastside’s first possession that was recovered by D’Andre Hazel. He had a 28-yard return on the fumble that allowed the Comets to start on Eastside’s 12-yard line. On Hackensack’s first offensive play of the game, running back Tymere Robinson ran it in for a 12-yard rushing touchdown to give the Comets a 7-0 lead.
That was far from the only time Robinson’s name was called this game. The Junior running back dominated throughout the contest, rushing for five touchdowns on the day. One included a 46-yard run that gave the Comets a 13-0 at the end of the first quarter. Robinson proceeded to score in every quarter with a 6-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter, 3-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter, and a 51-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“Robinson was the key to the game,” said Hackensack Head Coach Benjie Wimberly. He went on to name his final game stats of 24 carries, 282 rushing yards, and five rushing touchdowns, citing that as the difference of the game.
But, Hackensack kept Paterson Eastside in the game with mistakes in the second quarter. Early on, quarterback Zion Frazier fumbled a snap deep in Hackensack’s own territory, which resulted in the ball going out of the end zone for a safety. When Eastside got the ball back, they had a 35-yard touchdown pass, with a quarterback sneak to add a 2-point conversion that made it 13-10 with 7:35 to go in the second quarter.
Just when the Comets were looking vulnerable, they responded with one of Robinson’s touchdowns to make it 19-10 Hackensack at halftime. Then, weather became a factor with rain pouring down that cleared the bleachers and made the football a bit more slippery.
In the middle of the third quarter, Eastside tried to punt from deep in their own territory. With rain pouring down, the Eastside punter muffed it, allowing Hackensack to recover the ball at their 3-yard line, which was followed up by a Robinson rushing touchdown. On their next drive, Eastside fumbled again, this time deep in Hackensack territory. The Comets responded by driving down the field and finishing it off with a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Frazier to make it 31-10 with a minute to go in the third quarter.
Before the fourth quarter started, the game came to a halt when Hackensack Assistant Coach Robert Scott suddenly collapsed on the sideline. Other staff and players rushed to his side, calling medics from the other side of the field immediately. Scott was removed via stretcher, but showed signs of movement as he was getting on. It was later discovered that Scott had low blood pressure and suffered from dehydration.
Both teams took a knee for the health of Scott, clapped as he was taken off by the stretcher, and tried to resume play as normal. Despite an attempt by Eastside to make it a game early in the fourth quarter with a 16-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion, Hackensack never truly let them back in, responding with three touchdowns of their own.
One was by Robinson, another was a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Jabreal Habehh, and the last was a 65-yard interception return by M.J. Ramirez as time expired, putting an exclamation point on a 53-18 victory. Overall, Coach Wimberly was impressed.
“I liked how we finished the game with a strong running game and key defensive plays,” he noted.
Hackensack plays their home opener on Friday at 7 p.m. against Passaic Tech.