HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Hasbrouck Heights introduced itself to the North 2, Group 1 section with a dominating 42-0 win over New Providence Friday evening at Depken Field in Hasbrouck Heights. The game, which was started an hour earlier to get ahead of projected heavy rains, was dominated the entire way by the Aviators defense. The Aviators will play Weequahic, next Friday at Depken Field.
“I think we play defense better than we play offense” said Jasiah Purdie after the game. “We know we aren’t going to win just trying to outscore people.”
Senior Ian Rinke echoed Purdie's sentiments.
"Defense wins championships," Rinke stated.
Hasbrouck Heights got on the board first, taking advantage of the powerful leg of Matthew Gwizcz and a defensive stop to get on the board, 7-0. Gwizcz pinned the Pioneers back at their own 14 with a booming kickoff that Anthony Sidoll returned from the goal line. Following two stops of Pioneer running back Jack Gertie, who gained over 1100 yards on the season, an eight yard punt gave the Aviator the ball at the New Providence 25.
Spencer Lee scored on a quarterback keeper from 12 yards to give Hasbrouck Heights a 7-0 lead.
The New Providence offense fared little their next possession, picking up a first down, but little else, and once again were forced to punt. The Pioneers defense held the Aviators, and Heights pinned them back inside their own two yard line on a punt by Purdie.
A three and out by Pioneers gave Hasbrouck Heights the ball at the New Providence 40. On fourth and four, Lee hit Michael Robertson for 15 yards to keep the drive going, putting the ball at the Pioneer 13. Lee hit Purdie with a nine yard pass, to make it first and goal from the one, where Purdie scored to give the Aviators a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
With the Pioneers starting at their own 20, they picked up a little momentum, gaining first downs on consecutive runs, one by Gertie, and one by Mario Fuentes. But the Aviators defense once again shut the door, but punter Joe D’Anna got off a good punt that rolled dead at the Aviator 12.
It was there that the game would be put out of reach by two big plays. Following an eight yard run on a quarterback keeper by Spencer Lee, Lee hit Purdie on a hitch-and-go for an 80 yard catch and run and a 21-0 lead.
“It was the same play as last week,” said Purdie. “I saw the linebacker bite, and once I caught the ball I knew it was a touchdown."
New Providence rattled, was forced to punt, after a three and out sequence left them with fourth and 18. But Purdie fumbled the punt, and the Pioneers took over at the Aviator 43.
Gertie showed why he rushed for over 1100 yards on the season, ripping off runs of 15 and 17 yards to get the Pioneers to a first and goal at the 10. After being stopped for four yards on two runs, New Providence quarterback Owen Kovacs tried to hit D’Anna over the middle for a touchdown.
But Rinke picked the ball off and went 100 yards for a touchdown, and a 28-0 lead.
“The coaches were telling me all week it is going to be on the goal line,”’ said Rinke. “When it reached third down I said “Alright, its time’” . Once I saw the ball in the air, and it was first of the year, and I might as well make it a 100 yarder.”
Purdie noted that he thought Rinke’s play put the game away for the Aviators.
“They started to come back a little, and the defense lagged a little bit,” Purdie said “When Ian picked it off and returned it for a touchdown it was a message that we were not going to get beat.”
As Rinke hit the end zone, rain started to fall in Hasbrouck Heights.
Any thoughts of a New Providence comeback in the second half were quickly squashed, as the Aviators drove down the field, putting the Aviators inside the red zone. But Marcello Boccarelli picked off a Lee pass in the end zone, giving New Providence the ball at their own 20. But Fuentes fumbled on the next play, and the Aviators wasted little time, as Purdie scored on a seven yard run just four plays later for a 35-0 lead.
Robertson scored in the fourth quarter to give the Aviators their final 42-0 lead.
Notes: Lee was nine-of-12 passing for 191 yards, with an interception and a touchdown. Purdie caught seven for 162, while Etni Alvis caught one for 14 and Robertson caught one for 15.
Robertson was the Aviators leading rusher, carrying 10 times for 77 yards and a touchdown. Rocco Minichiello carried six times for 65 yards. Lee carried three times for 21 yards and a touchdown, while Purdie carried five times for five yards and two touchdowns.
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