NJSIAA FINAL PREVIEW: How Hasbrouck Heights Advanced to the Final


HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - A look back at how the Aviators, 9-1 on the season, reached Saturday evening’s North 1, Group 1 Championship Game against. Pompton Lakes at Kean University.  Game Time is scheduled for 7 pm.  

9-08 St. Mary Depken Field W 28-26    RECAP    

The Aviators warmed up the fans for what the end of the season would be like with a nail-biter over the Gaels. Heights played well for a half, before blowing a 28-7 lead and holding on for dear life at the end of the game.

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BYE WEEK -  The Aviators and Cardinals had the same Bye Week, but probably very different vibes to them as the Aviators rested up from their physical game the week before and worked on defense and conditioning.

9-22 @ Secaucus Secaucus HS W   42 - 7 RECAP  

James Klenk picked off a pass on defense, threw a pass to Jasiah Purdie that set up first and goal at the one, and then scored  in the first minute of the game as the Aviators rolled over the Patriots.  Heights led 22-7 at the half, and cruised through the second half to the victory.

9-28 @ Cresskill Cresskill HS W   34-0  RECAP   
The first major test of the season became the Purdie show, as he scored five touchdowns as the Aviators rolled over the Cougars in what was supposed to be the game for the division.   With wins over St. Mary and Cresskill in their first three games, the hard part of the schedule (at least on paper) was over.  Purdie scored twice on passes from Klenk, had two rushing touchdowns and a punt return for a score. The defense was dominant against a Cresskill offense which saw some of its best weapons go out during the game.

10-06 Saddle Brook Depken Field W   55 - 13   RECAP
The Aviators clinched the Meadowlands Division Title with this one-sided victory over Saddle Brook. Matthew Gwziszc was 7-of-7 on extra points, and sent four kickoffs into the end zone for the Aviators.  Purdie and Klenk each had two touchdowns, while Jordan Wexler, Michael Robertson and Spencer Lee each added touchdowns.

10-13 @ North Arlington Rip Collins Field W  49 - 6  RECAP
The overmatched Vikings saw Klenk throw for three touchdowns, two to Purdie as the Aviators rolled. Robertson had two more scores, while Nico Facchini, Rocco Minichiello and Wexler had touchdowns.  Heights led 42-0 at the half.  Gwziszc was seven of seven on extra points for the second time on the year.

10-20 Hawthorne Depken Field W RECAP 45 - 8  
Group 2 Hawthorne, the late July replacement when Ridgefield dropped down to junior varsity only, was supposed to be a threat to Heights going into the NJIC Bowl Series.  But the Bears were overwhelmed on Senior Night, as the Aviators jumped out to a 31-0 halftime lead.  

10-27 @ Wallington Wallington HS W    RECAP 42 - 21
The Aviators started post-season, NJIC-style, much like they did the regular season.  Jumping out to a 21-0 lead at the half, as they took advantage of Wallington turnovers in the first half, it looked like an easy victory. The Panthers picked off two Klenk passes, leading to two scores an a 21-14 game at the half.  Facchini controlled the ball on the ground in second half, and Klenk busted a 50-yard run on the opening drive of the second half to give the Aviators some breathing room.

11-03 @ Rutherford Tryon Field L 14 - 7 (OT)   RECAP

The Aviators bid for their second straight NJIC title came to crashing to a halt on a windy night in Rutherford, who has also advanced to this weekend, playing in MetLife on Saturday in North 1, Group 2 final.  The Aviators and Bulldogs were tied at 7 when the wind blew Gwziszc’ 41 yard field goal into the wind wide right.  It had the distance, but the wind had other ideas.  The first of three straight nail-biters for Heights.

11-10 @ Cedar Grove Cedar Grove HS W RECAP 12 - 6 (OT)
The cold almost ended the Aviators season, as 30 mph+ winds combined with temps below 20 degrees to freeze the Aviator offense.   Only an improbable 80 yard drive in the final 57 seconds saved the Aviators, as Klenk hit Purdie twice deep down the field.  With three seconds left, Purdie threw a jump pass to Will Vera, to tie the game. In overtime, Klenk’s 11-yard run gave the Aviators the lead.  

11-17 @ New Milford New Milford HS W   RECAP 10 - 7

If you knew that Gwziszc’s first-ever field goal, in the first quarter, would wind up being the difference, you need to be picking lottery numbers.  Once again Heights defense was huge, keeping a well-balanced high scoring offense in check.  Klenk to Purdie once again, this time from 33-yards gave Heights a 10-7 lead and set up the dramatics at the end of the game, with Wexler blocking the kick, Purdie recovering, whistles blowing while the ball is being thrown in the air, and more bad feelings added to a New Milford-Hasbrouck Heights rivalry.


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