Rocco Minichiello scored three touchdowns, including a 40-yard reception from quarterback Steven Faussette as the Hasbrouck Heights Senior Aviators rolled past the Rutherford Bulldogs, 38-0, in the finale of their matchup in the Meadowlands Football League Saturday night at Depken Field in Hasbrouck Heights.
Earlier in the evening, the Junior Aviators defeated the Junior Bulldogs, 12-0, while the Pee-Wee Bulldogs beat the Pee-Wee Aviators, 18-0.
Seniors: Heights jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter,as Minichiello’s 4 yard run and 40-yard reception opened the scoring. Justin Mucci, who also had two touchdowns on the night, caught a 33-yard pass from Faussette on the last play of the first half to make the score 26-0. On the first drive of the second half, Mucci went 22 yards for a 32-0 lead. Jake Diaz’ 45-yard run closed out the scoring.
Heights improved to 4-0 with the win, while Rutherford fell to 2-2.
Juniors: A pair of quarterback bootlegs by Heights’ Evan Werner proved to be the difference as the Junior Aviators edged the Bulldogs in a hard-hitting defensive contest.
Both teams' defenses shut down the opposition's running game, as the game was scoreless at the half. Behind the running of Anthony Bonagura and Cole Gournas, Rutherford’s offense got off to a fast start, driving deep into Aviator territory. But Hasbrouck Heights defensive end Sal Grasso recovered a Bulldog fumble at the Aviator 6, keeping the game scoreless.
Rutherford’s defense, led by Dann Carr, kept the Aviators' offense bottled up, and took over on downs from Heights at its own 20 with six minutes left in the half. After quarterback Van Weber hit Ryan Ward on a 3rd and 15 pass for 13 yards inside the 10, Heights' defense stiffened again and Gournas was stuffed on a 4th and 1 run.
Heights ran out the first half, sending the game into halftime knotted at 0.
In the third quarter, the Heights' defense forced a Bulldog punt on their first possession, giving the Aviators the ball at the Rutherford 39. On a 4th and 5 from the 34, Werner’s first big run of the game came as he went 19 yards on a quarterback keeper to the Rutherford 15. Running back Anthony Dilascio, hammered the ball into the end zone five plays later for a 6-0 Heights lead.
Following another defensive stop by the Aviators, the Raiders put the game away in the fourth quarter, with Warner going 10 yards on his second quarterback keeper for a 12-0 lead.
The defense took over the rest of the way, stopping Rutherford’s comeback effort on big tackles from Michael Canavatchel, Jacy Westfield, and Oscar Solis Coto. Anthony Grasso broke up a fourth-down pass attempt to give Heights the ball with less than four minutes left, and Heights ran out the clock.
The Aviators improved to 4-0, while the Bulldogs fell to 3-1.
Pee Wees: Marcello Fernandez and Laquan Henry each had touchdown runs of at least 50 yards as Rutherford defeated Hasbrouck Heights. Fernandez busted a 52-yarder right before the first half ended to give the Bulldogs a 12-0 lead. That grew to 18-0, when Henry broke a run of 50 yards off right tackle on the first play of the second half.
Rutherford, the defending Pee Wee level Super Bowl champions, improved to 4-0 on the season. Hasbrouck Heights fell to 0-4 with the loss.
Hasbrouck Heights hosts rival Wood-Ridge next Saturday night, while Rutherford hosts rival Lyndhurst.
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