SADDLE BROOK, NJ - Defense carried the day for the Aviators, as the Seniors and Juniors won by shut-out, while the Pee-Wees lost a defensive battle in the Meadowlands Football League playoff opening round on Saturday evening in Saddle Brook.
The winners advance to play at Depken Field next Saturday evening for the right to go to the MFL Super Bowl in Saddle Brook in two weeks.
Seniors: Hasbrouck Heights 44, Elmwood Park 0
Jake Summers scored four touchdowns, and Nick Grasso scored twice, as Hasbrouck Heights rolled over Elmwood Park, 44-0, in a game which saw the Senior Aviators dominate on both sides of the ball. The Senior Aviators improved to 6-0 on the season and will face Manchester, who edged Wood-Ridge 27-22, in the Northern Division final.
Summers broke a 43-yard run for Hasbrouck Heights opening score on the second offensive play the Aviators ran. Gabriel Thomas extra point made the score 8-0, with 5:52 remaining in the first quarter.
It did not take long for Hasbrouck Heights to score again, as the Aviator defense held the Elmwood Park on fourth and two, taking over at the 41. On the second play, Summers went 41 yards for a 14-0 lead. Elmwood Park blocked Thomas’ extra point.
Hasbrouck Heights stopped Elmwood Park on the next drive, and it took just one play, as quarterback Daniel Amendola hit Summers on a 45-yard pass and run for a 20-0 lead with 7:26 in the second quarter.
Hasbrouck Heights made it four possessions, for scores, when Summers went 55 yards for a score and a 26-0 lead. Thomas kicked his second extra point for a 28-0 lead. (In Meadowlands Football rules kicked extra points are worth two points.)
The third quarter started with running time, and the Hasbrouck Heights took quick advantage to score, as Amendola hit Grasso for a 31-yard pass and run and a 34-0 lead. Thomas kicked his third extra point of the night for a 36-0 lead.
Grasso ended the scoring for Hasbrouck Heights, picking off an Elmwood Park pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown, for a 42-0 lead. Thomas once again banged through the kick for a 44-0 advantage.
At the end of the third quarter, the game was awarded to Hasbrouck Heights and a B game followed for the fourth quarter.
Juniors: Hasbrouck Heights 15, Saddle Brook 0
A defensive struggle into the fourth quarter broke Hasbrouck Heights way, as the Junior Aviators scored twice in the final minutes of the game for a 15-0 victory.
With five minutes remaining in the game, Daniel Powers intercepted a Saddle Brook pass, giving Hasbrouck Heights the ball at the Saddle Brook 38. On the first play, Jaden Picinich went 38 yards for a touchdown, only to have the play called back due to a holding penalty.
The following play, Picinich went 50 yards off the right side for a touchdown, and a 6-0 lead Picinich ran in the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
Following the kickoff, Saddle Brook, which struggled run the ball all day, tried to go to the air to tie the game. But Nicholas Leone picked off a pass and ran 60 yards for an insurance touchdown and a 13-0 lead. Matthew Sampieri kicked the extra point for a 15-0 lead.
The Junior Aviators will play Elmwood Park next week.
Pee-Wees: Manchester 6, Hasbrouck Heights 0
Manchester pulled out a 6-0 victory over Hasbrouck Heights with a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, as both teams’ defensive units dominated the game.