RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- By Saturday night, the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference playoff picture will have taken shape, as key games in all four divisions take place.
A pair of unbeaten teams, Waldwick and Rutherford, will play Friday night at Tryon Field with first place in the Colonial Division at stake.
Rutherford, which opened its season with a 34-24 victory versus Glen Rock, is 4-0 after convincing victories against Lodi (47-0), Palisades Park (48-0) and Garfield (26-6). Rutherford’s offense is led by senior running back Kevin Kosakowski and dual-threat quarterback Tom Reid.
Waldwick (3-0) is led by running backs Sonny DiPasquale and Matt Messner. Quarterback/safety Garret King is a threat on both sides of the ball, and has a pair of interceptions on defense already this season.
Saturday afternoon, the Meadowlands division race most likely will be decided, when the undefeated Hasbrouck Heights Aviators travel down Route 46 to Saddle Brook to take on the 3-1 Falcons. If the Falcons win, they will thrust themselves into, at worst, a tie for first place. If the Aviators win, they will put distance between themselves and the rest of the league.
The Falcons have won three in row behind tight end Andrew Lorenzo and quarterback Kevin Daly. They stumbled out of the blocks in the opening game, getting shut out by Cresskill, 30-0, before outscoring their next three opponents, 115-20.
Heights is a 3-0, outscoring its opponents 126-12, and knows it has its destiny in its hands after beating Cresskill, 33-6, Friday night at Depken Field. With 1-3 North Arlington and 0-3 Ridgefield on the schedule after Saddle Brook, on paper this is the last test for the Aviators before the playoffs.
The Aviator offense is led by quarterback Frank Quatrone, running backs John Iurato and Nico Facchini and wide receiver Jasiah Purdie, who can score from anywhere on the field. The starting defense has been near perfect on the season, only giving up points last week to Cresskill on a drive that started at the Heights 2-yard line.
Becton Regional (4-0) can continue its quest to the NJIC playoffs in the Patriot Division with a win versus 1-2 Wallington. The Wildcats can clinch first place with a win, as they already have beaten Wood-Ridge (3-1) and Park Ridge (2-1) earlier in the season, and own the tie-breaker against each team. Becton has been paced by the passing of quarterback Michael Bolwell and the receiving of Steven Strong.
In the Liberty Division, the big battle for first place will have to wait a week, when a pair of unbeaten teams in Pompton Lakes and Harrison meet. This week, an old rivalry is rekindled, as Harrison goes to Queen of Peace’s Rip Collins Field, while Pompton Lakes hosts Hawthorne at Hershfield Park.
Pompton Lakes is led by running back Chris Grecco and quarterback Kevin Cotter. The Cardinals used a 21-0 fourth quarter to break open a 21-20 game with New Milford last week after opening the season with shutout wins against Elmwood Park and Queen of Peace.
Hawthorne, 2-2 on the season, is led by Carter Macsis. Luke Kowalski and Cameron Brandt.