HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -- Hasbrouck Heights had six different players score a touchdown as the Aviators defeated Hawthorne, 45-8, in a New Jersey Interscholastic Conference football game. Heights blew open a 7-0 game after the first quarter with a 24-point second quarter en route to a 31-0 halftime lead.
The Aviators improved to 6-0 on the season and will travel to Wallington next week in the NJIC Bowl Series. Hawthorne fell to 3-3 with the loss.
The Aviators jumped on the board after the teams exchanged three punts in the first six minutes of the game. James Klenk hit Jasiah Purdie on a wide-receiver screen and Purdie took it 20 yards for a 7-0 score.
After a third three-and-out, the Aviators took over and were moving the ball down field when the first quarter ended. On the first play of the second quarter, Klenk busted through the middle of the line and down the right sideline 28 yards for a 13-0 lead. Matthew Gwzidzc, who was 5-for-5 on extra points on the evening, made the score 14-0.
The defense got into the act, as another three and out led to a punt. When the snap sailed over the punter’s head he dove on the ball in the end zone for a 16-0 lead. The ensuing free-kick did not work out much better for the Bears, as Nico Facchini took the kick and busted up the middle and down the left side for 60 yards, before being knocked out of bounds at the five. Two plays later, Facchini was in the end zone, for a 22-0 lead.
The Aviators lined up for a trick play for the two-pointer, and Klenk hit Purdie for the two-point conversion and a 24-0 lead.
A Klenk to JC Pagan 4 yard touchdown pass was the final score of the half, coming with just over a minute remaining.
The Heights defense, led by seniors James Varga, Travis Culkin and Jordan Wexler, completely shut down the Hawthorne running game and had quarterback Nick Foschini scrambling before his receivers could get open. The Bears had 18 offensive plays in the half on six possessions, for a negative-five yards of total offense. Throw in the 21-yard loss on the bad punt snap, and officially Hawthorne had negative 26 yards offense in the first half.
The second half saw Hawthorne start with a little spark as TJ Palmer picked off Klenk following the second half kickoff. Foschini was able to run for 19 yards, and Hawthorne’s first first down of the game, before the Aviator defense stopped the Bears on downs the next four plays.
Klenk rushed for 42 yards on third down to give the ball to the Aviators first and goal at the five. Two plays later he hit Wexler coming out of the backfield for a four-yard touchdown pass, extending the lead to 38-0.
Spencer Lee added a touchdown to make the score 45-0 in the fourth.
Hawthorne was able to mount a drive late in the game, as Jalen Palmer carried twice for 50 yards, and backup quarterback Ethan Schuster hit Nik Schenk for a 20-yard touchdown pass with a two and half minutes remaining. Palmer rushed in the conversion for the game’s final score.
Afterwards, Hasbrouck Heights head coach Nick Delcalzo spoke about his seniors, who were honored before the game on Senior NIght.
“I thought tonight was fitting for this senior class,” Delcalzo stated. We have a great group of kids. It is what keeps me coming back, year after year.”
The seniors were productive in their final regular season home game at Depken Field. Klenk finished 8 of 14 passing, for 60 yards and three touchdowns, plus an interception. On the ground, he carried 10 times for 118 yard and a touchdown. Facchini carried nine times for 29 yards and a touchdown. Culkin had an interception, Wexler had two sacks and a touchdown reception.
Purdie, who returns next year, had seven carries for 58 yards and caught six passes for 50 yards and a touchdown.
What is next for this group is Wallington, who are not unfamiliar to the Aviators, as the two teams scrimmaged over the summer.
“They are a good team,” said Delcalzo. “They are a physical team and they are playing very well right now.”