UNION, NJ - It did not take Hasbrouck Heights’ Jasiah Purdie long to establish one that despite his small school standing, he is a big-time player.
On the first play for the North Squad in the 41st Phil SImms North/South Game at Kean University on Monday evening, Purdie slipped behind the South defense and hooked up with Hackensack’s Zion Frazier on an 84-yard touchdown pass and a quick 7-0 lead.
“We faked a bubble screen and I got behind a defender and I stumbled a bit when I caught the ball, “ said Purdie. “But I was able to maintain my balance and then I just took off towards the crib.”
“I looked up and saw Jasiah wide open,” said Frazier. “I was just going “get it to him” when I threw the ball. Once I saw he had it, I knew we had a touchdown. He is a great player.”
And just two and a half minutes into the game, it was 7-0 North. And following a strong defensive stand, the North began moving the ball again, hitting Purdie for a short gain, where he was stopped just before he spun his way out of the grasp of the defense.
Frazier tried to hit Purdie one more time deep, but overthrew the pass and it floated over the head of Purdie and was picked off, one of two interceptions on the day for Frazier. The turnover was a momentum changer, as the South marched down the field and scored, with South quarterback Prince Dru-Bey (Winslow High School) rushing into the end zone with a three yard run to cut the lead to 7 - 7 as time right at the end of the first quarter.
The South continued their outburst in the second quarter, Dru-Bey rushed for his second touchdown, this time from four yards out, to give the South a 14-7 lead. Dru-Bey hit Manasqan’s Jake Prendergast from 10 yards away, and the South had a commanding 21-7 lead.
But St. Joseph’s kicker Angelo Guglielmello hit a 36 yard field goal to cut the lead to 21-10 right before the half.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, Guglielmello was again given the chance to put points on the board for the North, but drilled the kick off the uprights, keeping the score at 21-10.
A forced fumble by East Orange’s Christopher Stultz gave the ball back in good field position, and the North finally was able to take advantage, as Bayonne running back Ashuan Dingle powered in from one yard away cutting the lead to 21-17.
But the offense stuttered, as following the interception, the North went away from Purdie on offense.
“It is frustrating, “ said Purdie after the game. “You want your touches, but, you understand that it is an all-star game, and everyone needs to get their touches as well."
The South extended the lead to 23-17 on a safety set up by punt returner Jamar Casey trying to return a punt inside the five. The poor field position set up a third and eight pass play, in which the North quarterback was called for intentional grounding in the end zone.
The North defense held, and marched down the field, finally going back to Purdie as an option. He caught three short passes in the drive, but kept the ball moving down the field. With the aid of a few penalties, the North took advantage on an 8-yard run from Dingle, to tie the game. Guglielmello made the extra point, and with 3 minutes remaining had to hold on to a one-point lead.
The South, had other ideas, driving the length of the field, setting up Freehold Boro’s Jake Hurler with a game-winning 25 yard field goal. But the kick sailed wide right clipping the outside of the goal post and giving the North a 24-23 victory.
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