Lyndhurst’s Partyla looking to break all records

When Piotr Partyla was in eighth grade, he was a member of the Lyndhurst Recreation travel football team that played for the Meadowlands Area Super Bowl championship.

“We were undefeated,” Partyla said. “And they beat us.”

The they that Partyla is referencing to — the members of the Harrison Recreation travel football team. The Harrison squad went into the playoffs with a handful of losses and was the big underdogs against the powerful Lyndhurst squad.

It’s a loss that Partyla never forgot.

So when Lyndhurst High School faced off with Harrison High School on Oct. 11, Partyla was certainly ready.

“It was a rematch of that game,” Partyla said. “I thought that I had to step up my game.”

Especially since Harrison quarterback Mateo Desosa had been having a sensational season. The week prior, Desosa had nearly 700 yards of total offense – running and passing – and seven touchdowns.

“Desosa had been putting up some crazy numbers,” Partyla said. “I thought it was a cool stat line and absolutely crazy. I definitely had to prove myself a little in this game.”
So Partyla went out and had the game of his life.

Partyla carried the ball 19 times for an astounding 274 yards and five touchdowns, leading the Golden Bears to a 47-7 romp over rival Harrison.

Partyla backed up that great performance against Harrison with another incredible outing Saturday afternoon against Elmwood Park. Partyla carried the ball just nine times for 224 yards and four TDs, leading the Golden Bears to a 49-0 rout of Elmwood Park.

For his efforts, Partyla has been selected as The Observer Athlete of the Week for the last two weeks.

It marks the third time that the remarkable running back has been chosen as Athlete of the Week – and all three times have been in the month of October.

Partyla was the Athlete of the Week as a sophomore on Oct. 18, 2017 and earned AOW honors again on Oct. 3, 2018. Obviously, Partyla definitely shines in October.

But honestly, Partyla, who has already declared his intentions to play college football at Northern Illinois University next year, has been a stellar performer in every month of his high school football career – first as a freshman at the now-defunct Queen of Peace and for the last three years with his hometown Golden Bears.

And Partyla’s numbers would have been totally off the charts against Harrison if it wasn’t for a hideous penalty that wiped out a brilliant 92-yard touchdown run in the first half. Partlya realistically should have had 366 yards rushing and six TDs. That would have been the highest single game rushing performance the area has seen in decades. As it stands, the 274-yard outing was quite impressive.

Partyla broke free for the long touchdown, but the Golden Bears were flagged for a sideline infraction when the side judge made contact with a Lyndhurst assistant coach.

But the Golden Bears were not given a sideline warning before getting the penalty, which is the customary way of calling that infraction. Plus, by the time the side judge apparently made contact with the coach, Partyla was 25 yards past the play, ahead of everyone. Honestly, it was the worst penalty call this reporter has witnessed in his 36 years of covering high school football. It was atrocious.

And the officiating crew was flag happy in the game, calling an insane 36 penalties in the game, 26 of which came in the first half.

That’s enough with the officials and back to “The Polish Assassin,” Partyla’s new nickname.

A lot of Partyla’s carries – 14 of the 19 – against Harrison came from the Wildcat formation, where Partyla takes a direct snap in the shotgun and sprints off to the races.

“I think it worked out better,” Partyla said. “It’s hard to stop the Wildcat. I see the game a little better out of the Wildcat. We have been doing the Wildcat a little more recently, then we go to the regular formation. It’s pretty hard to stop either way.”

Lyndhurst head coach Rich Tuero said that Partyla was due for a game like he had against Harrison.

“He’s been chipping away and chipping away, but he really needed that breakout game,” Tuero said. “He’s been grinding out yards, but hadn’t been getting that big play. I think he needed that kind of game to help his confidence.”

However, Partyla said that his confidence never wavers.

“No matter what, I feel confident,” Partyla said. “I’m feeling better with every game. I knew I was going to dominate. Coming into the game, I just felt that it was going to be my kind of game. I want to dominate every game. That’s how I’ve been feeling the last couple of weeks. When I’m on the field, I don’t let anything bother me.”

That’s good to know, considering that the Golden Bears, the champions of the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference’s Liberty Division, will face the Warriors of Waldwick/Midland Park, the champions of the NJIC’s Colonial Division, in the NJIC semifinals Friday night at Lyndhurst. Kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

Cresskill, the champions of the NJIC Meadowlands Division, will face Park Ridge, the champs of the NJIC’s Patriot Division, in the other semifinal. The winners of the two semifinal games will meet on the weekend of Nov. 1-2. All four aforementioned champions have identical 6-0 undefeated records.

It marks the first time that Lyndhurst has qualified for the NJIC playoffs. The league adopted the playoff system to determine an overall champion four years ago. It’s a league playoff system like no other in New Jersey and it’s downright genius, because now, these teams are playing meaningful playoff football games before they move on to the NJSIAA state playoffs.

“I like it,” Partyla said. “It’s more of a challenge for us. It’s like we’re 0-0 again. I want them to come after us. We have to win this game. I expect a lot from myself. I work hard all the time. Over the summer, everywhere I went, it was football, football, football.”

The other aspect of Partyla’s life is his health. He is not plagued by the nagging football injuries that come after six games.

“Thank God for that,” Partyla said. “I’ll come into this game (Waldwick/Midland Park) healthy and ready.”

“He’s just finally let loose,” Tuero said. “He’s had some dominating performances. This kid is really fired up and ready to go. He is so locked in. I think he knows this is it. He’s been playing with these teammates since they played flag football as little kids.”

Nothing is going to stop “The Polish Assassin.”

“I really like that name,” Partyla said. “Everything is going according to plan. I just want to win a state championship.”




Lyndhurst senior running back Piotr Partyla. Photo by Jim Hague




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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”