In winning a conference championship on Nov. 4, against Irvington, the Wayne Hills High School football team finished an 8-1 regular season on a high note. However, not all the news was good.
Senior Chris Pusterla went down with a serious knee injury late in that game, and will miss the rest of the season.
Pusterla is the third Patriots player in 2016 to be sidelined with a season-ending knee injury that will require major surgery. Team captain Jacob Casale, a senior, hurt his knee in a non-contact drill in June, underwent surgery a month later, and amazingly enough, might be able to get back on the field for a game before the end of this season. (See related article https://mikelamberti.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/its-all-business-for-wayne-hills-football-as-patriots-prepare-for-roxbury-and-welcome-back-team-captain-jacob-casale-after-incredible-return-from-surgery-moussa-costello-looking-good-in-practice/)
Sophomore lineman Gabe Dellechiaie injured his knee in an August scrimmage at Montclair and recently had surgery. He’s hopeful to be ready for practice by June.
Pusterla had been an outstanding linebacker for the Patriots, according to head coach Wayne Demikoff.
“Chris was playing really well for us,” said Demikoff. “You hate to see any player get hurt and need surgery. For the last four years, Chris has been a hard worker and committed young man to this program. I can’t say enough about his tenacity, team-first attitude and the attributes it takes to be a Wayne Hills football player.
“I’ve often told the kids that not everyone is supposed to play football here. It’s not easy. But when a young man comes through those four years, hopefully he’s learned a lot about life’s lessons and that will carry him into the next phase of his life. I’m confident Chris is one of those guys. He’s still a big part of what we’re trying to accomplish here, as far as winning a (state) championship. We’ll continue to rely on his leadership and toughness.”
Pusterla will most likely have surgery on his knee in a few weeks and start rehabbing.