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Aviators Opener Could Tell Tale for 2012

Heights take on Glen Rock on Friday night at Depken Field

Friday night might be a big night for the Hasbrouck Heights football team.

The last two seasons the Aviators have come out on the wrong end after losing back-to-back openers to Saddle Brook.

And the Aviators have finished with back-to-back 6-4 records while just missing out on the state playoffs.

The two losses to the Falcons ended a string of four straight years in winning the season opener.

A victory over the Panthers will get them off to a great start in terms of the power points for the new aligned Group 1 North 1 state playoffs.

"Our key game is the first game," said Hasbrouck Heights head coach Nick Delcalzo after the first scrimmage a couple weeks ago against New Milford. "We have to get better to be ready for them. They're (Glen Rock) a tough team."

Hasbrouck Heights might have gotten some help from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association as the organization added another group to the football postseason.

In the past there were four groups and for 2012 there will be five groups.

If you went by the postseason structure for this season, Hasbrouck Heights would have qualified last year for the playoffs.

The new aligned state sections does not have Glen Rock in Group 1 North 1 but has moved up to Group 2 North 1.

Despite the increase in groups, Delcalzo still believes it is a tough group sectional, Group 1 North 1. "You have the likes of Verona and Cedar Grove along with Cresskill, those are tough teams," said Delcalzo.

In addition, the NJIC realigned this season as Hasbrouck Heights moves from the Meadowlands B to the Liberty division. The lone team that is following the Aviators is rival Saddle Brook.

In addition, North Arlington, Waldwick/Midland Park, Palisades Park/Leonia and Queen of Peace are part of the Liberty division. The Aviators also have Emerson and Pompton Lakes on the schedule.

From last season's 6-4 team, Delcalzo graduates 11 players from the team, but does have a lot back for the 2012 season while still relatively young with nine seniors on the entire roster. "We got a lot of young kids and we're just looking to get back into the state playoffs after missing it the last two years," said Delcalzo.

He is bolstered with the return of his quarterback junior Darren Iurato who threw for 707 yards and 10 touchdowns. "I think he has improved in throwing the ball and has a chance to be a lot better," said Delcalzo about his junior quarterback and All NJIC second team player last season.

In addition the top runner returns in senior Anthony Seidel who ran for 867 yards and scored a dozen touchdowns while being a first team All NJIC back. "He's hard to take down and he keeps moving against defenses," said Delcalzo.

Along with Seidel in the backfield behind Iurato is A.J. Traina and junior Sage Scalvino.

According to Delcalzo, the 2013 version of the Aviators will divert from the usual ground and pound and spreading out the offense and take advantage of both Iurato and Seidel who can catch the ball out of the backfield.

The Aviators will have to replace senior graduate Mike Pikowski who collected 509 yards and four touchdowns as a slot receiver.

One of the top returning targets for Iurato is senior tight end James Fitzsimmons who had 180 receiving yards last season and two touchdowns. Fitzsimmons was first team All NJIC last season.

Picking up the slack with the graduation of Pikowski, Iurato's targets will include wide receivers in senior David Jackson, junior Alexander Kensik and sophomore Franklin Garcia along with slot receiver junior Robert Klenk.

One of the hardest hit areas in terms of graduation was the line for the Aviators with the loss of Dan Manigieri, Mike Pasqualone (a first team All NJIC lineman) and Chris Connors on the offensive line.

Delcalzo will be looking for improved play for the linemen who are back in senior center Matt DeSimone, who was All NJIC second team in 2011, along with juniors Ryan Paladino at guard and Justin Porzl at tackle. The newcomers on the line are sophomore guard Mauro Altamura and senior tackle Chris Golio who was a All NJIC honorable mention player in 2011.

With the 4-4 defense, Delcalzo will be rotating several players on the defensive line including senior Matteo Vilardi, junior Joseph Fadden, Porzl, Paladino and Golio at defensive tackle. Porzl was a second team All NJIC defensive lineman last season. At defensive end there is seniors Joe Crabbe, DeSimone, junior Pat Dowd and junior Chris Verdi.

The linebacking corps is solid with the return of Seidel and Fitzsimmons, both seniors along with Altamura, sophomore Steven Salerno and Traina. Traina and Seidel are outside linebackers and Fitzsimmons, Altamura and Salerno are middle linebackers.

The defensive backfield is led by Iurato and senior Nico Waters at cornerback while Klenk is slated for safety and Scalvino for cornerback.

For the Aviators the key games to get back into the state playoffs could be the first two weeks with Glen Rock and a road game against Queen of Peace on Sept. 15.

If Heights can pass the test the first two weeks, it will give them a cushion and give the Aviators possibly plenty of power points to push them into the state playoffs and maybe a high seed in Group 1 North 1.

For Hasbrouck Heights to grab the NJIC Liberty title, it might come down to the Oct. 12 battle with Saddle Brook. Queen of Peace could also be an obstacle in winning the division.

The one noticeable subtraction from the Aviators division and its schedule is neighborhood rival Wood-Ridge. Area school officials and coaches were trying to recall a year where the two schools were not playing football.

The absence of the Blue Devils on the schedule continued to deemphasize of the rivalry that Heights had dominated. The game between the two schools was the annual Thanksgiving Day tradition between the two schools for several decades before it ended with the new NJIC and the last Thanksgiving Day game was held in 2009, won by the Aviators, Thanksgiving football rivals saw the holiday tradition end after the 2009 season, 49-12 at Depken Field.

Hasbrouck Heights Football

(All games at 7 p.m. unless noted)

 Sept. 7     Glen Rock

Sept. 15    Queen of Peace at Harrison, 1 p.m.

Sept. 21    at North Arlington

Sept. 28    Becton

Oct. 5      at Emerson

Oct. 12     Saddle Brook

Oct. 19     at Waldwick/Midland Park

Oct. 26     Palisades Park/Leonia

Nov. 2      Pompton Lakes

Hasbrouck Heights Football roster

No.   Name                    Position, Year, Height, Weight

 

1     Anthony Seidel          RB, OLB     Sr.   5-11  185

3     Sage Scalvino           HB, CB      Jr.   5-7   145

5     AJ Traina               RB, OLB     Sr.   5-9   185

7     David Jackson           SE, DB      Sr.   5-7   145

9     Alex Kensik             WR, CB      Jr.   5-11  160

10    Darren Iurato           QB, S       Jr.   5-11  185

11    Joey Crabbe QB,         DE          Sr.   6-2   200

13    Nico Waters             WR, DB      Sr.   5-10  155

21    Franklin Garcia         SE, CB      So.   6-1   165

24    Victor Arias            RB, LB      Jr.   5-6   140

25    Anthony Tolentino       SE, CB      So.   5-6   140

26    Matt Fausette           QB, CB      So.   5-7   130

27    Robert Klenk            RB, FS      Jr.   5-11  170

32    Patrick Dowd            FB, ILB     Jr.   6-2   185

40    James Fitzsimmons       TE, MLB     Sr.   6-0   205

45    Steven Salerno          FB, ILB     So.   5-7   180

47    Jushua Paulino          RB, CB      Jr.   5-11  170

50    Frank Altamura          OL, DL      Sr.   5-8   190

51    Nate Onorato            T, LB       So.   5-8   170

54    Matt DeSimone           C, DE       Sr.   6-1   185

55    Forde Dimitri           OL, DL      Jr.   5-8   185

56    Chris Tattoli           C, DE       So.   6-0   175

58    Mauro Altamura          G, MLB      So.   6-1   200

59    Mark Hofmann            OL, DL      Jr.   5-11  260

60    Chris Verdi             G, DT       Jr.   6-0   195

61    Chris Golio             T, DE       Sr.   6-2   195

62    Matteo Vilardi          T, DT       Sr.   5-11  280

63    Elwin Miranda           G, DL       So.   5-7   150

67    Justin Porzl            T, DE       Jr.   6-4   240

70    Ryan Palladino          OL, DT      Jr.   6-2   205

78    Joseph Fadden           DT, OL      Jr.   6-1   240

79    Jack Lako               G, DL       So.   5-8   165

81    Jawan Carew             SE, DB      So.   5-7   140

83    Anthony Stefanelli      SE, CB      So.   5-8   140

84    Marquise Perez          WR, CB      Jr.   6-5   170

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