HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - An evening that started with two lopsided wins for Hasbrouck Heights ended with a bitter defeat in Meadowlands Football League action on Saturday night at Depken Field.
Manchester Edges Heights 16-13
Manchester jumped out to a two-score lead and then held off a second-half comeback, as the Senior Aviators suffered a 16-13 loss in the nightcap Saturday night. It was the first loss of the season for the Aviators (5-1) while Manchester improved to 6-0 on the season, and now has a commanding grip on first place in the Northern Division.
Observers saw two very different football games, as each side dominated a half. In the end, Manchester had the one extra play that was enough to hang on for the win.
The Falcons took the opening kickoff, and behind halfback Tyler Brown, marched right down the field, getting inside the Aviator 10 yard line, before the defense stiffened. On a fourth-and-goal, from the nine, Hunter Freschi intercepted a pass in the end zone, giving the Aviators a touchback, and thwarting the Falcon drive.
When Jake Diaz took the first carry for 33 yards, it looked like the Aviators were going to answer the threat with one of their own. But the Falcons’ defense stiffened, shutting down Diaz on the second and third downs for three-yard losses on both plays. After Freschi overthrew Diaz on a shot down the left sideline on fourth down, the Falcons took over on the Aviator 48 with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter.
Brown went 47 yards on the first play of the second quarter for the game’s first score, giving the Falcons a 6-0 lead. Manchester then successfully kicked the extra point (worth two points in junior football) for an 8-0 lead.
Heights took the next kick and drove the ball to mid-field, where the drive end on a fumble that was recovered by the Falcon defense It took Brown just one play to break his second long run of the game, this one from 50 yards away, to give the Falcons a 16-0 lead with 6:50 remaining in the first half.
Once again, the Aviators offense stalled after getting the ball back, and turned the ball over on downs to Manchester, as Diaz was thrown for a two-yard loss on fourth and 10. A flag on the play initially looked like the Aviators might keep the ball, but the officials ruled it was a dead ball, personal foul on Manchester, and moved them back 15 yards after the change of possession.
Manchester took a holding penalty on second and 13, backing them up further in their own end. A bad snap, which sailed past the quarterback to Brown, wound up being a long run as he picked the ball up, and after it appeared the ball was down, emerged from a scrum with the ball, headed to the end zone. Diaz was able to pull him down at the 7, and what looked like a potential turnover was now a scoring opportunity for Manchester.
But the Aviator defense once again stiffened, and had its second goal-line stand of the half, taking over on downs with 27 seconds remaining in the first half.
A pass to Freschi from Diaz gained seven yards, but the half ended with the Aviators down 16-0.
Heights took the second half kickoff and chewed up most of the third quarter moving down the field to get on the board with 2:43 remaining in the corner. A Diaz to Robert Boscarino pass play on fourth and 8 kept the drive alive, and runs by Anthony Dilascio pushed the ball into scoring possession. Diaz went over on third and goal and the score was 16-6. The point after kicked failed.
Following a failed onside kick, the Heights defense, led by resurgent defensive line, stopped the Manchester offense, taking over on downs as the third quarter ended.
Heights offense now had some more momentum and moved the ball down the field. Following an eight-yard run for a first down on a fourth-and-six by Diaz, the Aviators took advantage of a Manchester roughing-the-passer call to get into the red zone. Two plays later, Diaz hit tight end Jaden Nelson with an 18-yard pass down the middle of the field to cut the lead to 16-12. Heights ran for the conversion, with Diaz going up the middle, and the lead was now 16-13.
Once again the Heights defense came forward, as the potent Manchester offense of the first half was nowhere to be found. On fourth-and-10, backed up to their 29, Manchester punted to the Heights 46 with 4:03 remaining in the game.
On a fourth-and-12, Heights turned to a reverse as Diaz pitched to Freschi, who pitched to DiLasico who was able to get outside for a 14-yard run and first down. DiLascio came right back with a 12-yard run to the right down to the 28 with two-and-half minutes remaining. Following an incomplete pass to the left side of the end zone, Diaz hit Nelson in the right flat for 13 and a first down at the 15.
Diaz went back to the left side once again, but the Manchester defense intercepted the pass and returned the ball to midfield, ending the Heights rally, with a minute remaining in the game. With Heights out of timeouts, Manchester took a knee twice to end the game.
Junior Aviators Roll Over Manchester 26-0.
The Junior Aviators scored on every possession, and the defense held the Falcons to just one first down as they defeated Manchester, 26-0. The Juniors improved to 6-0 on the season with the win, while Manchester fell to 1-5.
The Aviators scored with a little more than five minutes into the first quarter, as Frankie Billings scored from three yards out. Quarterback Donovan Auriemma made the score 14-0 on the final play of the first half, rushing in from five yards out.
Heights made the score 20-0 with two minutes left in the first half as Auriemma hit Jake Summers for a 30-yard catch and run for a touchdown. The Aviator defense had the Falcons offense in reverse and had taken over on downs when the first half ran out.
Billings scored his second touchdown on the first play the Aviators had the ball in the second half, going 22 yards after the Aviators took over on downs.
With the Aviators up more than three scores at the end of three quarters, the game was considered over and Heights was awarded the victory.
Pee-Wees Ground the Falcons 27 -0
After a scoreless first quarter, Jalil Baldwin led the Pee-Wee Aviators second quarter explosion, en route to a 27-0 victory over Manchester. Baldwin scored from 10 yards with 8:35 remaining in the second half, and his run on the conversion gave the Aviators a 7-0 lead.
On their next possession, Baldwin went 29 yards for a 14-0 lead. The Aviators expanded their lead to 21-0 on the last play of the first half, as quarterback Nico Nipitella hit Harris Krommenhoek for a 35 yard scoring play.
Aiden Werner scored on a the last play of the third quarter to give Heights the 27-0 victory.
Next Week: The Aviators travel to Saddle Brook next week to take on the Falcons. The Pee-Wees kick off at 5:30, with the Juniors and Seniors immediately following.