HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Looking back into Hasbrouck Heights High School athletic history has been an interesting journey. So before we go much further, there are clarifications that need to be made to keep the record straight.
First, there have been a few mistakes in reporting, not major, but still needing to be corrected. I would like to thank a reader, Justin, no last name provided, nor would it have been shared, that pointed out a few mistakes from information that he had.
In 1935, I had Hasbrouck Heights losing 27-20 to Spring Valley to open the season. Actually, they won, 20-7. No excuse, I simply wrote the wrong score in my notes. In 1939, I reported a score against Weehawken, when the opponent was Westwood. (At least both schools started with a W).
In a perfect world, all the pdfs of the old "Observers" would be perfectly legible, and there would be a football story in each one, preferably on the same page each week, with the same format. Every high school yearbook would have the football results listed. But, we don’t live in a perfect world. Sometimes, even when yearbook and newspaper had the scores, the scores don’t match each other.
Researching using an online newspaper database gives me access to the archives of "The Bergen Record," "Passaic Herald News," and "Passaic Daily News," "New York Daily News," and others. Unfortunately, "The Newark Star Ledger" is not available through that service, nor is "The Jersey Journal" or "Hudson Dispatch."
What I have also found out was a few tidbits which show how different the times were.
There were “Athletics Clubs” from Hasbrouck Heights that reported football scores. Not sure who they were, although I may doubleback later and try and figure things out. Also it was not uncommon for the alumni to play the varsity 11 each year, sometimes more than once. These games are not counted in the records.
The Alumni also played, what appeared to be semi-pro games as well. Amateur football, to be viewed live, was somewhat more popular of a past-time then, definitely more than the NFL, before the advent of television.
What may surprise those who yearn for the days of old, and think about the days of good old fashion football, is this little tidbit, it was not all that uncommon for games to be cancelled due to rain. I guess with the amount of activity on these fields, they decided they could not afford to destroy them just to play when the schedule said play. Games scheduled on Saturday, moved to Monday or Tuesday were not uncommon.
The Aviators, as those who have read the previous stories, was not what Hasbrouck Heights was referred until the late 1930s, and even then, it depended on the paper. The Orange and Black was the most common referral. In the mid 1930s, the nickname the Airman began to make an appearance. And starting in 1939, and heading into the 1940s, the Kmetzman (Andy Kmetz was the coach) was popular in certain newspapers.
Hasbrouck Heights has had rivalries with several schools it no longer competes against - Hackensack for one. East Rutherford High School has become Becton High School, and the Aviators started their rivalry with Lodi by losing the first seven games (at least.) What made that more galling to Hasbrouck Heights fans, is that 1934, Lodi students went to Hasbrouck Heights, as Lodi did not have its own high school.
In a perfect world, all the research would have been completed, the stories written and queued up, before the first story ran. But this is, as we said before, not a perfect world. Research is being done between stories.
Hope you continue reading the series, and I apologize for the errors which are now corrected. I will try and make sure they are at a minimum. From 1950 through the present, the website www.bergenpassaicfootball.com has a listing of scores, so some of the research will have been done already. The stories though, are not always told in just the numbers.
And if anyone has photos, or comments from having been there during the upcoming eras, please share them, either with me for use in one of the stories, or on the Facebook page.
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