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Jasiah Purdie leads Hasbrouck Heights to 2nd NJIC Conference Championship Title

Hasbrouck Heights(8-0) senior Jasiah Purdie said after last year’s defeat to Rutherford in the NJIC(New Jersey Interscholastic Conference) Championship Game was devastating and not a lie but a wake-up call to the team and motto was not to lose this year’s championship this year. Making the rematch at Depken Field in Hasbrouck Heights on Friday night even more interesting both teams’ were undefeated. After a perfect 2017 campaign, Rutherford(7-1) was riding a 19 game winning streak.


Purdie did not waste anytime establishing himself on offense scoring twice in the first quarter including scampering 66 yards to the end zone on the Aviators first possession of the contest. When Rutherford trimmed the deficit to 14-10 early in the second quarter on a Kyle Russell 13-yard touchdown pass to Abellany Mendez it was Purdie delivering in the clutch gaining three and half yards on a fourth and inches play. Four plays later quarterback Spencer Lee found a wide-open Ian Rinke on a 41-yard score.


The Aviators defense continued to wreak havoc on Russell as Matteo Ochoa picked off a pass. Facing a third and long inside Rutherford’s territory, running back Michael Robertson gashed through the defense for a 42-yard run down to the two-yard line. On second and goal at the four, Purdie displayed his skills at quarterback with a jump pass score to Shawn Calhoun extending the margin to 28-10 with 1:47 remaining.


The back and forth action continued as Russell orchestrated a six play 75-yard drive capped off by a six yard QB keeper with 24 seconds left. However, Purdie continued to contribute in many facets blocking the extra point attempt. Receiving the opening second half kickoff, Hasbrouck Heights offense went to work led by Robertson’s aggressive running churning out 55 yards on the ground. On a second and goal from the Rutherford 12-yard, line Robertson busted up through the middle of the line and into the end zone for the touchdown with less than nine minutes on the clock. For the game, Robertson carried the ball 17 times for 136 yards.


“We came out strong, have a good offense and playmakers in Jasiah and Spencer, said Michael Robertson” “We rely on good play calling, trust in offense and the offensive line did a great job of opening up holes and work hard in practice every day” “The play calls are designed perfect, we came prepared and knew what they had”


Ochoa intercepted Russell for a second time but the Aviators could not take advantage of the pick. Rutherford refused to go away quietly swiftly moving right down the field in six plays as Mendez(17 rushes for 155 yards) found the end zone for a second time on a 10-yard run. With a roughing the kicker penalty assessed Hasbrouck Heights on the extra point attempt, the Bulldogs went for the two-point conversion Mendez successfully stretched the ball across the goal line cutting the lead down to 35-24 with two minutes to go.


Once again the Aviators had a response on their ensuing possession as Lee completed a pivotal 32-yard pass to Rinke moving the ball into Rutherford territory. Faced with another fourth down play, Lee rolled out and found Purdie for 18 yards. Two plays later Lee threw his fourth scoring pass and second to Rinke on the night.


Making his presence known defensively, Purdie picked off Russell for a second time as the Aviators registered five interceptions in the game. Only throwing the ball 10 times in the game, Extremely efficient in completing 9 out of 10 passes for 223 yards, Lee  hooked up with Purdie for a third time and fifth scoring pass overall with six minutes remaining in the fourth that cemented the 48-24 victory.


“It just happened all in the moment, said Jasiah Purdie” “We played well as a team and showed them we came to play and kept it going” “The defensive line got a push and a couple of sacks”


Hasbrouck Heights Head Coach Nick Delcalzo on the NJIC Championship win, “Spencer Lee had a great game at quarterback, Robertson had some big runs and Rinke made some big catches over the middle” “You have to put points up on them because of Mendez and we pretty much held him in check and a hell of a player”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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