HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - The 2008 season, some people thought, would be a challenge for Hasbrouck Heights. Sure quarterback Bobby Kistner was back for his senior year, but how could they replace six seniors who were named to the Bergen County Coaches Association All-County teams the year before?
Emerson found out the answer in a hurry, as Kistner threw for two touchdowns, ran for a third as the Aviators scored six touchdowns before halftime, in a shockingly easy 41-14 in over Emerson. Shawn Zahn scored from 4 yards and 72 yards and John Cambridge had a 14-yard run for the Aviators points.
Cambridge had one of those days Week 2 against New Milford. You know, the one’s that whenever you look up, the player is making an impact into the game. Cambridge blocked a punt to set up the Aviators first touchdown. He returned a kick 87 yards for a touchdown, and then later, after intercepting a pass, one play later went 19 yards for the touchdown as the Aviators recorded their sixth straight win over New Milford, 39-14.
Zahn had 122 yards on 11 carries, and Kistner threw Michael Ruggeriero a 54 yard touchdown as the Aviators jumped out to a 32-7 lead at the half. The defense held New Milford running back AJ Scoppa in check once again (in the state championship the year before they shut him down to keep him short of 2000 for the season) in handing New Milford the loss.
A trip to Cresskill was next, and the Aviators dispatched the Cougars 31-7, proving that they were not just great on the turf at Depken. Everyone got into the act as Kevin Condal kicked a 31-yard field goal to get the Aviators on the board. Kevin Delcalzo scored twice, once on 19 yard run, the other on a three-yard pass from Kistner. Kistner also ran for a score along with Cambridge.
Delcalzo finished the game with 110 yards rushing, while Cambridge had 88 and Kistner 71 as the Aviators spread out the load on the ground.
Park Ridge, Hasbrouck Heights top challengers in the Division, was up next, and the Owls were ready for the Aviators jumping out to 14-0 lead in the first quarter before Nick Brunetti caught a 76-yard touchdown pass from Kistner to get on the Aviators on the board, cutting the lead to 14-7 at the end of one quarter.
Park Ridge responded with a 39 yard touchdown pass, putting the Owls back up by two scores. Kistner and Brunetti hooked up again, this time for a 35 yard score. Still, the Aviators, being pushed for the first time all season, were down 20-14 at the half.
Park Ridge opened the lead back to two touchdowns with a score in the third quarter, moving ahead 26-14.
Zahn cut the lead with a 1-yard run to 26-21 as Condal converted his third extra point of the game.
The fourth quarter was all Aviators. Kistner hit Brunetti for a 94-yard touchdown, scrambling and with a hand on his face mask, to give the lead. The Aviators ground game took over with the lead, as Cambridge broke a 58-yard run, and Delcalzo scored from 14 yards as the Aviators pulled out a 43-26.
“We were not losing this game,” Kistner told the media after the game.
Kistner threw for 269 yards and three touchdown passes to Brunetti, worth 205 yards. Cambridge ran for 100. The Aviators were challenged, but 4-0 and returning home to play Pascack Hills.
Kistner threw two more touchdowns, a 21 yarder to Brunetti and a 39-yarder to Cambridge as and Aviators rushed for six touchdowns as they rolled over the Cowboys, 55-12. The Aviators rushed for 300 yards, led by Cambridge, who rushed for 104 yards on five carries, scoring twice. Delcalzo scored from 57 and 17 yards, while Zahn (32 yards) and Matt Galassi (8 yards) also scored touchdowns.
Next was a trip down Route 80 to Palisades Park, and the Aviators did not forget to bring their offense, defeating the Tigers 53-21. Delcalzo scored three times, including a 65-yard punt return lead the way. He also ran one in from 56 yards and caught one of Kistner’s two touchdown passes on the day (3 yards). Kistner also kept his hot hand with Brunetti throwing a 10 yard touchdown pass. Zahn rushed in from 28 and 15, while Cambridge scored from 10. Libardo Torres recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a special teams touchdown.
Hasbrouck Heights' win streak reached 20, as Cambridge rushed 11 times for 322 yard for the Aviators,who rushed for 446 yard in a 47-20 win over Bogota. Cambridge scored four times, from 4, 77, 50 and 56 yards en route to his gigantic day. Despite the proficiency on the ground, it was Kistner to Brunetti that accounted for both of the Aviators first two scores, combining for 34-yard and 47-yard touchdowns.
Ridgefield came into Hasbrouck Heights next, but little to slow down the Aviators, as they rolled to a 45-6 victory. Delcalzo scored twice, once on a 70-yard punt return, once on a 3-yard run as the Aviators spread the wealth. Kistner ran for one score, while completing a 41-yard touchdown pass to Mike Messeri for another. Cambridge (12 yards), Condal (16 yards), and Zahn (11 yards) added rushing touchdowns.
The Aviators were 8-0, but were inexplicably, the fourth seed, behind a 9-0 Glen Rock team, 8-0 Mountain Lakes and 8-1 Westwood, resulting in just one game, against Pompton Lakes (7-2), being at Depken.
The Aviators took care of business in the opening round, as the defense came up big, in a 19-0 defeat of the Cardinals, their first shutout of the season. Hasbrouck Heights defense forced six turnovers in shutting out Pompton Lakes. The defensive effort was needed, as the Cardinals had the Aviators stymied until Zahn’s three-yard run gave the Aviators a 7-0 lead with three seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Cambridge added two insurance scores, from 24 and 25 yards in the fourth quarter to give the Aviators the win. Both Condal extra points were blocked. Cambridge finished the day with 160 yards rushing on the day.
The win set the Aviators up to play Glen Rock in what some observers say is the coldest game played in Hasbrouck Heights football. It was also one of the most difficult, as the Panthers escaped with a 34-27 victory that literally came down to the last play.
Glen Rock jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, before Kistner gave the Aviators the lead on a one-yard run early in the second quarter. The extra point failed. The Panther took back the lead when Chuck Stewart threw a 23-yard touchdown pass, taking a 10-6 lead. The Panthers scored on their next possession, with Sean Miller kicking a 28 yard field goal, to put Glen Rock up 13-6 at the half.
Cambridge scored from 16 yards out, tying the score at 13-13, following Condal’s extra point. Stewart took the lead back for Glen Rock, scoring on a five-yard run. The extra point failed, and the Panthers led 19-13. The Aviators however, grabbed the lead right back, as Kistner hit Delcalzo from five yards out, with Condal once again making the kick, for a 20-19 lead at the end of three quarters.
Stewart was not done yet, as the Panther quarterback scored on a 33-yard pass play from Brendan Miller on a trick play put in just for this game. Stewart then hit Teddy Palm for a 27-20 lead.
The Aviators tied the game on Zahn’s two-yard run, with Condal kick re-tying the game at 27-27.
Stewart was not done for Glen Rock, scoring on a 45-yard run, giving the Panthers a 34-27 lead, following Miller’s successful kick with 1:29 remaining in the game. What had been intended to be a pass wound up being a 45-yard scramble for a touchdown.
The Aviators drive to tie the score fell short when Kistner’s pass fell incomplete in the corner of the end zone as time expired.
Thanksgiving saw the Aviators run over a winless Wood-Ridge squad, 48-6. Kistner and Cambridge each rushed for two touchdowns, to lead the offense. Condal scored on a 60-yard run, Delcalzo from 10 while Brunetti returned an interception 40 for a touchdown.
Kistner was joined on the First Team All-County team by guard Travis Malave and linebacker Lorenzo Tattoli. Delcalzo was Second Team at wide receiver, while Brunetti was named Third Team at defensive back.
Cambridge was First Team All BCSL Olympic at running back, joined by tackle Nick Curci. Messeri (T) and Zahn (RB) were joined by tackle Nick Turci on the Second Team, Torres and Rocco Mangeri were Honorable Mention selections.
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