EMERSON, NJ - Hasbrouck Heights jumped out to a 21-0 lead at halftime and hung on through a flag-filled second half for a 21-7 victory over Emerson in the NJIC Crossover Round Friday night in Emerson. The Aviators improved to 6-1 with the win, while Emerson is now 5-3.
“I thought we were sloppy,” said Hasbrouck Heights head coach Nick Delcalzo. “Maybe it was the week off, maybe not. Either way, we have a lot work to do to clean stuff up this week.”
Early on, it looked like it would be an Aviator rout, as the Aviators took the opening kickoff and scored in less than three minutes for an early 6-0 lead.
Rocco Minichiello returned the opening kickoff 58 yards to the Emerson 37 to get the off to a good start. The Aviators converted two first downs, the key play being a fourth and five at the 17, with Spencer Lee gaining 14 on quarterback draw to set the Aviators up with a first and goal at the three. Zai’heer scored on a jet sweep for the 6-0 lead.
A bad snap, however, caused kicker Connor Friedel’s kick to be blocked and keep the lead at 6-0.
Sloppiness on the Emerson part also showed, as the Emerson returners on the ensuing kickoff misplayed the ball, allowing it to roll into the end zone for a touchback.
Following an exchange of punts, Emerson quarterback Frankie Savino’s pass was picked off by Jenkins, who took the ball back 54 yards for a touchdown and a 12-0 lead. Minichiello scored on the conversion for a 14-0 lead.
The Aviators scored on their first possession of the second quarter, with Minichiello pounded into the end zone from five yards out a 21-0 lead.
Emerson’s offense then came to life, moving the ball down the field and into scoring position. With first and goal from the eight yard line, Emerson running back Joe Lacorazza, drove the ball down to the Aviator three yard line on first down. But on second and third down, the Aviators defensive line stuffed him, setting up a fourth and goal. Savino was forced to throw on fourth and four, but was unable to hit his receiver in the end zone, giving the Aviators the ball with on their own four yard line.
The Aviators took a knee and went into halftime with a 21-0 lead.
The opening play of the second half proved to be a portent for the second half, as Lacarazza ran the kickoff back for a touchdown, only to have it waved off for a block in the back call. The Cavos recovered, as they took over eight minutes to drive down the field, with Savino scoring on a quarterback keeper to cut the lead to 21-6. Tyler Reissner’s extra point made the score 21-7.
Jake Diaz returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, only to have it called back for a flag for holding.
The rest of the game, each time a team started to gain some momentum, a flag waved off the play. Each time a team made a big play on defense, a flag would offset. A total of nine flags would be thrown in the fourth quarter, three against Hasbrouck Heights and six against Emerson.
Emerson was called for twice for holding, and once for a personal foul on the last attempt to score in the fourth quarter. After the Aviators held Emerson on a fourth and 37 with 21 seconds remaining, they took over on downs. A kneel down and the Aviators walked off 21-7 victors.
STATS: Lee had seven rushes for 40 yards, while completing six of 11 attempts for 45 yards. Minichiello carried 12 yards for 31 yards with one touchdown. Jenkins had five catches for 33 yards, plus had two carries for 10 yards and a touchdown. He also had two interceptions, one which he returned for a TD. Jake Diaz had one reception for 12 yards, and one completion for 27 yards. Steven Faussette caught one pass for 27 yards, and had two rushes for one yard
HH - Jenkins 3 yard run (kick blocked)
HH - Jenkins 54 yard interception return (Minichiello run)
HH - Minichiello 5 yard run (Friedel kick)
E - Savino 6 yard run (Reissner kick)
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