HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - As The History of Hasbrouck Heights Football reaches the mid-point of the series, it is time for some “Editor’s Notes.”
Let’s start with revisiting a thought that was introduced earlier in the series, that the first game was probably not in 1919, but since that is when the NJSIAA was started in 1918, that was where we would start.
However, in doing research using the search engine Newspapers.com, evidence shows that games also occurred as early as 1914. The search engine has the archive from The Evening Record (Bergen Record), The Paterson News, and The Passaic Herald News, along with several thousand other newspapers from around the United States.
Also, initially, the newspapers reporting the games referred to HHHS as Franklin High School in Hasbrouck Heights. (Remember the old Franklin School was initially the high school.)
Unfortunately, high school results were always not available in the papers each week.
Those games, of which the results are scattered, will be covered at a later time.
High school football in the 1920s and 30s also had competition from other forms of amateur football. At one time, there was even an alumni league in Bergen County, with teams from Hackensack, Englewood and for a few years, Hasbrouck Heights. There were also athletic clubs that played semi-pro football throughout the area.
Also, football rules were different than they are today. Under single platoon football rules, the rules regarding substitution are quite different than they are today. There were several changes to the rules regarding substitutions. At one time, players substituted for in the first half were not allowed to return until the second half; those who were substituted for in the second half could not return.
At other times, players could only be substituted at the end of quarters, change of possessions, or scores.
From 1954 through 1964, substitution rules were liberalized. In 1974, the current rule of a substitute needing to remain on the field for one play before being replaced came into effect.
The aforementioned rules (and time periods) listed is based on research concerning substitutions in college football rules, which high school rules generally mimic (usually being implemented within a year or two after the NCAA rules change. The NFL has had different substitution rules than college throughout its history.
All Star Teams, as reported by Bergenpassaicfootball.com were single platoon until 1967. For those who are not familiar with Bergenpassaicfootball.com, the site run by Pat Rice, has a listing of football scores, records, and All Star teams for each Bergen and Passaic High Schools since 1950.
The site has been one of the resources used in researching the series. Also used have been the Hasbrouck Heights High School yearbooks courtesy of both the Hasbrouck Heights Public Library and Hasbrouck Heights High School Library and Athletic Department, the clippings books of John Beitl, and additional clippings from the previously aforementioned Newspapers.com website.
Finally, up to 1974, the NJSIAA annointed teams as State Champions. There were no playoffs. The addition of a playoff system has been one of the more controversial parts of high school football. How teams are selected, and ranked has been a contentious issue. Another issue that has been contentious is how it has impacted scheduling.
The season now ends for those in the playoffs in December, and the also-rans in November because of the post-season playoffs. The season also starts earlier, with some teams playing games before the school year even starts. For most of the series so far, the season usually started either he last Saturday in September or the first Saturday in October.
A casualty of the new schedule was the Thanksgiving rivalry games. While the decline in popularity of the Thanksgiving game can not be wholly blamed on the playoffs, it is definitely a primary factor. In an effort to improve their playoff chances, teams have altered their schedules, dropping traditional rivalries, for an improved chance at the playoffs.
The NJSIAA also changed some of those rivalries in the many attempts to create balance in the pursuit for post-season glory. League realignments have been common, as teams have come in and gone out of the BCSL and its divisions.
In 2016, the NJIC was created as a resistance to the NJSIAA’s Super Football Conference, made up of teams that wanted to continue play traditional rivals and schools in their area, and not travel the state for matchups dictated by the NJSIAA.
Growth of the populations, the closing of some of the Catholic high schools, also changed the schedule throughout the years. Closter High School was consolidated into the new Northern Valley High School. Tenafly High School was the home for high school students in Cresskill, until Cresskill opened in 1962. Queen of Peace is no longer.
Throughout the entire time, high school football has always been a thing in Hasbrouck Heights.
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