Team VH Insider
Cresskill vs Hasbrouck Heights
Game Of The Week
“Jasiah had a great day today,” said Aviators coach Nick Delcalzo. “We moved him around a little bit more than we usually do. We put him in the backfield, put him out, and he performed well. He did a good job.”
Late in the scoreless first quarter the Cougars lost senior quarterback/linebacker Mike Ferrara to an ankle injury after a 6-yard gain. Sophomore Aiden Feulner replaced Ferrara.
“It takes the wind out of you,” Delcalzo said. “The other kid (Feulner) did a great job himself, but when you take your best player off the field you lost a very good offensive player and a linebacker. It really hurt them, devastated them a little more. It would devastate any Group 1 team. You’re losing both sides of the ball.”
Midway through the second quarter Hasbrouck Heights got on the board when Purdie broke through the line, cut left and outran the Cougars defense for 42 yards into the end zone.
The Aviators defense held the Cougars to a three-and-out and Purdie made them pay when he raced 43 yards with a punt return to put Heights up 14-0.
“I had to shake one defender then I saw a block, saw a hole, took it and raced,” said Purdy. “It’s just instinct. You take the hole and go. But I can’t do it without my linemen. They set the tone for everything. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t get the opportunities I did.”
“We have a great line which has been here for awhile,” said Aviators defensive end Jordan Wexler. “We have two three-year starters that really help out, and a lot of people stepping up. Shaker [Assaf], James Varga, Travis [Culkin] and Nate Kim all contributed to the win today.”
With less than three minutes to go in the first half Feulner connected with senior wide receiver Noah Kim for a first down at the 42-yard line. But on third down Wexler sacked Feulner and the Cougars were forced to punt.
“He’s good, a heart and soul kid,” Delcalzo said of Wexler. “He had a great game. I think Travis Culkin, No. 58, had a great game at linebacker. The other kid, James Varga, had a great game too. I think we stuffed them early in the game.”
Hasbrouck Heights got the second half kickoff and Purdie went back to work. First, he gained 15 yards on a run and two plays later caught a lateral from senior quarterback James Klenk and bolted 31 yards for a touchdown to boost the lead to 21-0 with 1:10 gone in the third quarter.
After another three-and-out by Cresskill the Aviators went on their longest scoring drive of the game, an 11-play, 67-yard march, which consumed six minutes of the clock.
A great pass, from Klenk to Purdie, gave Heights a 28-0 lead.
““We practice coming back in the end zone a lot,” Purdie said. “And it paid off in the game.”
Purdie scored his fifth TD with a 1-yard run. He finished with more than 130 rushing and also caught four passes for 73 yards.
“Jasiah is a great player,” said Wexler. “I think he’s the best wide receiver in Group 1 football and probably a lot of other groups too. I think he’s one of the best wide receivers in North Jersey, by far.”
With the win Hasbrouck Heights improved to 3-0 on the season and now has the longest unbeaten streak in North Jersey with 14 in a row. Cresskill fell to 2-1.
“We knew it was going to be tough because we played them twice last year,” Wexler said. “The state game (a 28-21 win) was very close and very scary to watch and play in. The first half was kind of close but the second half we pulled away. The score shows we beat them by five scores but it was close in the first half. People are going to think it was a blowout but it was a lot closer than people think.”
“We were a little sluggish and Jasiah got us going – he jumpstarted us - and we took advantage of it,” Delcalzo said. “He’s got another gear, in and out. [Nico] Facchini also had a great day running but we have to get the rest of the guys going too.”
Article By JC Baumuller
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