Hasbrouck Heights’ offense was clicking on all cylinders tonight in beating Rutherford for the NJIC championship, 48-24.
Rutherford opened the scoring on a 24-yard field goal by Mateo Sullivan. Abellany Mendez gave the Bulldogs a first-and-goal on the three with a 31-yard run, but the Heights defense held.
On the next play from scrimmage, Spencer Lee found a wide open Jasiah Purdie down the middle for a 66-yard score, giving Hasbrouck Heights a lead they would have the rest of the night. Purdie then intercepted a pass that gave Heights the ball on the Rutherford 24 and Lee found him again for a touchdown, as Purdie made a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone.
Rutherford narrowed the gap early in the second quarter when Kyle Russell found Mendez on a 9-yard score. Heights scored next when Lee connected with Ian Rinke for a 41-yard score. Rinke caught the ball and evaded Rutherford defenders to get into the end zone. Matteo Ochoa intercepted a pass for Heights, giving them the ball on the Rutherford 24, followed by Michael Robertson scampering 39 yards to the 2-yard line. Purdie, out of the wildcat, threw to Shawn Calhoun for a 4-yard touchdown to make it 28-10 with just under two minutes left in the half. Rutherford came right back and scored on a 7-yard Russell run. The extra point was blocked and it was 28-16 at halftime.
Heights added to their lead on what was an all-Robertson drive, having a long run, another where he took a lateral, and then his 11-yard scoring run. A 1-yard run by Mendez made it 35-24 late in the third quarter.
Lee found Rinke for a second score and then Purdie for a 25-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach and become the NJIC champion.
The one who made things happen was Lee, who threw for five touchdowns. Purdie had three touchdowns, one touchdown pass, and an interception; while Rinke caught two touchdowns. Robertson was also a big factor in the running game. The defense intercepted five passes, with Ochoa getting two, along with Purdie, Zai’heer Jenkins and Dylan Grisafe.
Now that the NJIC playoffs are done, it is on to the state playoffs, where they enter as the favorite.