HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - It was a showdown in the Meadowlands Football League last night as the New Milford Knights invaded Depken Field in a battle of the two premier programs in the Northern Division.
Senior Division: Hasbrouck Heights 16, New Milford 6
A fourth quarter comeback, and the clutch kicking of George Kouletas led the Aviators to rugged 16-6 victory over the Knights in the finale of the evening.
New Milford scored on the opening drive as quarterback Matthew Mulligan riddled the Aviators secondary with passes to Quincy Porter, including a 14-yard scoring strike at 5:16 mark of the first half, giving the Knights a 6-0 lead. The snap for the conversion kick was mishandled, to keep the score at 6-0.
It would stay that way into the second half, as both teams managed to keep the other out of the end zone. Frankie Billings interception at the goal line in the third quarter would be the turning point of the game, as the Aviators march the length of the field following the play. Billings was shaken up on the play, as he was tackled by the facemask for a penalty. He would later return to the game.
The Aviators marched 83 yards down the field, tying the game when Jake Summers burst up the field for 34 yards with 5:13 remaining in the game. Kouletas’ successful kick gave the Aviators an 8-6 lead. (In Meadowlands Football League play, kicked extra points are worth two points, while run or passes are worth one.)
The Aviators defense came up huge on the next drive. Following a 15-yard completion to start the drive, the Aviators shut down the New Milford passing game, due to the two sacks by Joey Formisano. New Milford quarterback Eric Petrie’s pass on fourth and twenty fell incomplete with 3:33 remaining in the game.
Trying to run the clock out, the Aviators gave the ball back to Summers, where three times he took the ball to the end zone, only to have the first two called back. The first, and eight yard gain around left tackle, was brought back as he was ruled to have stepped out of bounds.
After a long injury timeout, Summers broke another run into the end zone, this time around right end, only to have holding called. The third time would prove to be the charm as Summer got outside the tackle and galloped 42 yards for an insurance touchdown to make the score 14-6 with 3:02 to play.
Kouletas second extra point would give the Aviators an insurmountable lead, 16-6.
Evan Werner picked of a pass on the final New Milford drive to end the game.
Hasbrouck Heights Seniors improve to 5-1 in the Northern Division, and are tied with Saddle Brook, who they play next week in Saddle Brook, for the lead.
Juniors: New Milford 27, Hasbrouck Heights 18
It was too much Bryan Cunningham, as the Knights scored four touchdowns to lead New Milford to a 27-18 victory over Hasbrouck Heights.
The Aviators opened the scoring, with Jalil Baldwin scoring on 38-yard run for a 6-0 Heights lead. But Porter would score just two minutes later, tying the score at 6-6. Following a Hasbrouck Heights fumble, Porter dashed 11 yards for the score, and then the conversion, to make the score 13-6 with 8:39 remaining in the second quarter.
Hasbrouck Heights’ Michael Napolitano broke a 45 yard to cut the score to 13-12, but New Milford was able to stop the conversion. Porter extended the lead to 20-12 on a 25 yard scoring run.
But Baldwin put the Aviators right back in the game, with a 15-yard score, to cut the lead to 20-18. The Aviators lined up to kick the extra point for the tie, but the snap was mishandled.
Porter scored his fourth touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter, for the 27-18 lead.
Hasbrouck Heights Juniors are now 4-2 on the season. New Milford is 6-0.
Pee Wees: New Milford 26, Hasbrouck Heights 12
Nicholas Haines and Luke Haines each scored touchdowns, as Hasbrouck Heights fell to New Milford, 26-12.
The Aviators are now third in the division at 4-2, behind New Milford and Manchester, who are both 6-0.
Editor's Note: the article was revised to reflect the correct Pee Wee players who scored.
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