HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. -- Frank Quatrone rushed for two touchdowns and threw for a third as Hasbrouck Heights defeated Becton Regional, 28-0, to capture the North Jersey Interscholastic Southern Conference Championship Friday night at Depken Field.
But it was the Heights' defense, which came through with a huge play every time the Wildcat offense challenged that was the difference.
With Becton driving on its opening drive, Sean O’Malley and Jordan Wexler sacked Wildcats’ quarterback Michael Bolwell, and Phillip Miller grabbed the ball, stopping not only the drive, but giving the Aviators momentum they never lost.
Taking over at their own 45, running back John Iurato moved the ball into Wildcat territory with a pair of runs, before a pair of false starts pushed Heights back across mid-field. Quatrone hit Miller for a 26-yard completion on third and 18 to give the Aviators a first down.
After Iurato’s 12-yard run put the ball at the five, Quatrone gave Heights a 6-0 lead with 5:47 remaining in the first. Joey Giancaspro’s kick made the score 7-0.
Becton tried to bounce right back, moving into Heights territory on a pair of runs by Anthony Thomas, and a Bolwell-to-Joe Emerson completion.
Once again, the Aviator defense, overlooked during the season due to the offense’s explosiveness, came up big. After an offsides penalty while the Wildcats were shifting out of a fake punt formation made it fourth and four, Wexler recorded his second sack of the game, giving Heights the ball at the 36.
Heights scored early in the second quarter on the ensuing drive. A pass interference call in the right corner of the end zone on a Quatrone-to-Jasiah Purdie pass gave the Aviators first and goal at the 10. Quatrone scored on a quarterback keeper from 10 yards away, stretching the lead to 13-0.
Pressing to get back into the game, Becton went to the air, but Purdie picked off Bolwell, at the Heights 48, returning the ball to the Heights 36. After runs by fullback Nico Facchini moved the ball to the 25, picked up 22 of the remaining yards, including the touchdown from two yards away, for a 19-0 lead with 4:34 remaining in the first half. A Quatrone-to-Phillip Viola pass was good for the two point conversion, and a 21-0 lead.
The Heights defense snuffed out any chance of a Becton comeback early in the third quarter. Following a three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half, Becton got its first huge break when Heights airmailed the center snap over the punter's head. Taking over at the 22, Heights defense shut down the Becton offense, with Travis Culkin knocking away Bolwell’s pass on fourth and nine.
Heights offense then went on a long drive, culminating with Quatrone hitting Miller with a 5-yard touchdown pass for the final score with 1:05 left in the third quarter.
Culkin and the defense kept the Wildcats off the board in the fourth.
Dylan Auriemma picked off a pass with 1:38 remaining and Heights ran out the clock for the victory.
Hasbrouck Heights will play Pompton Lakes next week for the first NJIC championship. The Cardinals beat Rutherford 14-6, to win the Northern Conference title.