HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Hasbrouck Heights wasted little time in jumping out to a lead en route to a 43-0 victory over Wallington Friday night at Depken Field in the final game of the regular season. The win lifted the Aviators to 7-1 on the season.
But where the Aviators wind up in the final North Group 1 standings is something no one will know for sure until sometime Sunday.
Wallington initially looked like they were going to give the Aviators trouble, picking up two first downs on the opening possession, before punting away to the Aviators. The Wallington punter nearly whiffed on the punt, grounding it up the middle of the field where Steven Faussette picked it up and returned the ball to the Wallington 40 yard line.
From there it took just three plays, as quarterback Spencer Lee took a quarterback read-option for a twisting 28 yard run down to 12. Rocco Minichello was stopped for two yards before Zai’here Jenkins ran in from 11 yards out with 4:32 remaining in the first for a 6-0 lead. Following an off-sides from the Wallington defense, Rocco Minichiello converted for an early 8-0 lead.
A quick three downs and punt from the Wallington offense gave the Aviators the ball back, and they quickly took advantage, Lee hit Hunter Freschi with a shovel pass and Freschi rumbled through the middle of the Wallington defense for a 23-yard score with 29 seconds remaining in the first. Connor Friedel’s kick was good for a 15-0 lead.
The Aviators defense held Wallington on the opening drive of the second quarter, with the Aviators taking over on downs at their own 46. Jake Diaz made a twisting, diving catch for a 24-yard gain on the first play, and then Lee hit Minichiello for a 30-yard catch and run down the Hasbrouck Heights sideline for a touchdown with 10:27 remaining in the second quarter. Friedel hit the conversion for a 22-0 lead.
The Aviators were able to score one more time right before the second half. Taking over at their own 48 with a little over a minute left, Lee hit Jenkins down the right side for a 48-yard gain on second down, to set the Aviators for a first and goal the four. After Minichiello was stopped at the one on first down, the Aviators used their final timeout of the half.
Jenkins sprinted up the middle through a hole from one yard out with 20 seconds remaining to give the Aviators a 29-0 lead going into the half following Friedel’s third extra point of the night.
It took less than a minute for the Aviators to score to open the second half, as Faussette dashed 38 yards, and Freschi scored his second touchdown of the game on shovel pass from Lee, this time from 38 yards, for a 35-0 lead. Friedel continued his perfect night with the extra point.
Anthony DiLascio notched the final Aviators’ score with 10:27 remaining in the game, powering in from three yards out. Friedel finished his 5-for-5 night with the extra point for a 43-0 lead.
Now the Aviators wait for the NJSIAA’s new ranking system to place the Aviators in the North 1 final standings to determine their final seeding.
Coming into the game in third, both Park Ridge (36-12 to Lyndhurst) and Cresskill (38-7 to Waldwick) were soundly beaten. However, Lyndhurst and Waldwick both played highly ranked Group II schools, so the impact of their losses, combined with Hasbrouck Heights win over 17 ranked Wallington has yet to be detemined.
Also, if Cresskill is ranked behind the Aviators one spot, they will leapfrog Hasbrouck Heights based on their season-opening 35-14 win over the Aviators. If Park Ridge is one ranking behind Cresskill, they will leapfrog the Cougars based on last week;s 29-28 win in their head-to-head matchup.
If the Aviators wind up 1 or 2 in the final poll is of little consequence except ego, as they only time they would have to the visitor would be in the State Final, which is played a neutral field.
A third place finish could send them on the road in the Sectional Final. Sometime Sunday, we will know for sure.
STATS: Lee was six of eight passing for 159 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing four times for 49 yards. Minichiello carried six times for 27 yards, while catching one pass for a TD. Jenkins carried two times for 12 yards and two touchdowns, while catching two passes for 42 yards. DiLascio carried 11 times for 52 yards and one score, while Faussette caught three passes for 45 yards. Freschi caught two passes good for 61 yards and two scores. Diaz had one for 23 yards. Friedel was a perfect 5-for-5 on extra points.
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