HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - The second half of the 1940s saw the Aviators get off to a successful start, recording back-to-back Group 1 championships, as head coach Andy Kmetz team recorded back-to-back Group 1 championships in 1946-47, running their total to three in a row following the 1945 season.
Quarterback Russ Sandberg replaced Gene Dinallo at quarterback for 1946, but still had Hall of Fame teammates remaining from the year before in end Al Pfeiffer and center Bob Lowenstein and All BCSL tackle Jerry Moersdorf to provide a nucleus. Walt Stone gave the Aviators another solid lineman, while Frank McCullough and Vito Putigliano took over as the featured backs.
McCullough was the primary passer for the Aviators, throwing several touchdown passes during the season.
Putigliano rushed for 170 yards in the opener, a win over Wood-Ridge 20-0 and 141 in the win over Fort Lee, 12-6. Another 12-6 win, this time over North Arlington set up the Aviators, at 3-0, for their annual showdown with Dumont for dominance in the BCSL.
Despite being outgained 156 to 137 on the ground, and 137 to 0 passing, the Huskies relied on a defense that turned the ball over on downs at the 7 and 11 yard line, to defeat Hasbrouck Heights, 12-8. The game’s winning score came on a disputed 62 yard run, as the officials did not heed the Aviators claims that the Dumont runner stepped out of bounds.
Now behind in the BCSL race, the Aviators needed help to repeat as co-champions. While they played their parts, going undefeated the rest of the way, so did Dumont, once again capturing the BCSL title. But the Aviators were awarded with their second straight Group I title, the fourth in the last six seasons.
Pfeifer was the lone Aviator to make first team All Bergen County from "The Record," while Lowenstein was second team. Moersdorf and McCullough were honorable mentions.
1947 would feature yet another State Championship, as the Aviators reloaded with new lineup, and finished 7-1-1 to capture Group 1, while being the runner up behind Dumont once again in the BCSL.
The Aviators opened with Harrison, and managed to grind out a 14-8 win, which was followed up by a 9-0 win over Fort Lee. North Arlington’s defense was able to hold the Aviators to a 6-6 tie, leaving Hasbrouck Heights 2-0-1 going into the game with Dumont. A crowd reported by "The Herald News" at 6,000 viewed the game in Hasbrouck Heights.
The Huskies were too much for the Aviators, shutting out Heights 18-0, to take control of first place in the BCSL. The Aviators had a 58 yard scoring pass to end Frank Calvert overturned by a penalty.
The Aviators changed their lineup following the loss in Dumont. Calvert, a strong speedy junior, had been playing end, not even starting each game, despite being productive. (In the era of single platoon football, substitutions are listed in the box score.) Now moved to the halfback position, the offense which scored just 29 points in four games, scored 33 points in a 33-0 win over Bergenfield.
The next week, Closter was the victim, getting trounced, 41-6. It was a one-sided affair that was noted that head coach Andy Kmetz used all 41 players on his roster.
The following week, would not be so easy, as the Aviators won a hard-fought 6-0 victory over Westwood, one of the league’s top teams. Running back Warren Keay threw a 30-yard touchdown pass for the game’s only score. The win established Hasbrouck Heights as a favorite to repeat as champions for a third time. The game was played on a Tuesday after being postponed by inclement weather.
Park Ridge, was up next, and was handled, 38-7, as the suddenly potent Aviator offense exploded. Bob Ling had two touchdowns, while Calvert added two, as the Owls were overwhelmed by the Aviators.
Thanksgiving brought the Aviators and Wood-Ridge together for a game that the Aviators won, in spite of 10 fumbles, 7-0. The win closed the campaign with a 7-1-1 record and five straight wins.
The Aviators were awarded their third straight NJSIAA North 1, Group 1 title over North Arlington, who despite leading in the mathematical Colliton model, were not granted the title after going 3-3-2 on the season.
Calvert, a junior, garnered enough votes at both end and halfback to be named Honorable Mention.
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