Hackettstown boys’ football top Bernards in PK shootout to win Section title
As Hackettstown senior Zack Prymak reached the penalty spot in the Tigers North Jersey 2, Group 2 section final against Bernards, he was motivated by memories of their victory over Harrison in the section final he three years ago.
âWhen I was in the freshman, I was on the 2018 team. I played 25 minutes in the Harrison game, we won 1-0. They were also one of the best teams in the state, âsaid Prymak. âIt’s just unreal to have this experience. To go up, knowing that the game is in play, just finish the ball.
Prymak sent Mountaineers goaltender Giancarlo Acosta the wrong way and scored a low shot into the corner of the net to Acosta’s left to end his high school career with another section title.
âIt was just a rush of emotion. I just watched and it went to the back of the net. I was so excited I looked and saw my trainer and everyone came over. It was one of the most unreal things to happen to me in my life, âsaid Prymak. “We knew from the start of the season, we just knew we were special.”
The third-seeded Tigers beat seeded Bernards 5-4 on penalties after the teams played a 0-0 draw in settlement and two overtime at Bernards High School on Thursday afternoon .
The penalty shootout looked like its own game after both teams found the score in three of their first five attempts to send the shootout to sudden death.
Senior midfielder JJ Zaun gave the Mountaineers the lead 4-3 with a low shot to the right of Hackettstown goalkeeper Nate Harrison. Harrison, who was denied by the post to Acosta’s right in the Tigers’ first penalty shot, then approached and pushed his shot down the middle while Acosta dove to his right.
âI just thought I had to put it in one place, but then I thought (Acosta) was going to dive in there. I just put it in the middle, sent it the wrong way and kept my head up the whole time, âHarrison said.
Adan Chaparro was next for Bernards, but the shot from the second hit the post to Harrison’s left and stayed clear before Prymak’s decisive shot delivered Hackettstown a shaken victory over the No.1-ranked Mountaineers. 6 by NJ.com.
âWe expected that we would lose this game 3-1. We came in, played the whole game, played extra time, then beat them in PK. It’s a great feeling, âsaid Harrison.
The Tigers endured a war of attrition in the 100 minutes as their top scorer Chase Reardon, assists leader Cam Reardon and senior defenseman Nick Harrison all left the game with injuries and did not return.
âResilient, persevering, we are a team that never gives up. We never say never, âsaid Hackettstown coach Matt DeMartini. “We knew we had to play our best game and I think it was the best game of the season so far for us by far.”
Sophomore Sammy DeGregoris replaced center-back next to Prymak following the downfall of Nick Harrison and the pair relentlessly scored Bernards senior Drew Elliott, who has scored 32 goals this season, to help keep the tamper-evident cage.
âEvery time (Elliott) got the ball we were right on his back, didn’t let him spin. We just forced it back, we didn’t let it go and we just shut it down, âsaid Nate Harrison.
âStallion. He’s a stallion,â DeMartini said of Prymak. âI was telling his mom and dad this is the best game I’ve seen him play so far. backbone of our team, him and Nick. When Nick comes down my boy did it step up. I can’t tell you the kind of talent it takes to do that, especially in a sectional championship game like this one.
Hackettstown will now prepare for the NJSIAA Group 2 tournament.
âThey wanted it from day one,â DeMartini said. âWhen we arrived, from day one, we knew what to do. We had goals that we were going to exceed, win the conference, win the section, win the whole thing; we checked two and we have one left to do.
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Desmond Boyle can be reached at [email protected].