HARRISON – Nico Gomez headed home a long cross from Alan Castillo just 1:19 into overtime, lifting Kearny to a 2-1 victory over neighboring rival Harrison in the Hudson County Tournament finale in front of 4,300 avid and raucous fans Thursday night at Red Bull Arena.
The county tournament title match was a thrilling affair, with the Kardinals (16-1-1) scoring first in the 25th minute on a goal from Dalton Davila off an assist from Juan Rojas. The match remained 1-0 in favor of Kearny through halftime.
It remained that way until eight minutes remained in regulation, when Harrison’s Brando Moreno unleashed a direct free kick from about 25 yards out. The shot hit the crossbar, but the rebound came out to Eann Vieira, who knocked it home to tie the game at 1.
The Blue Tide had a great opportunity to win the game in regulation, but a penalty kick try with 3:34 remaining was thwarted by Kearny net minder Joshua Rodriguez, saving the day for the Kardinals.
The game then went to the extra session, but Castillo’s brilliant long ball went right to the head of Gomez, who headed home the thrilling winner.
In the opening half of Thursday’s championship doubleheader, Kearny’s girls won their 13th straight Hudson County championship, easily defeating North Bergen, 4-0. Paige Raefski had a goal and two assists for the Kardinals, while Emily Horvaht and Abby Crispin had a goal and an assist each.
For in-depth coverage of both games, pick up The Observer’s Wednesday Nov. 3 edition, with articles on the Kearny clean sweep 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.”