HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - If Jasiah Purdie was the “One Man Highlight Reel” throughout his career at Hasbrouck Heights, then Frankie Calvert’s 1948 season entitles him to the moniker “The One Man Wrecking Crew.”
Listed at 6-1, 200 lbs., but reportedly larger, Calvert rolled over opposing defenses during the Aviators 1948 season, scoring a then Bergen County record 157 points, leading the Aviators to a 7-2 season that was noteworthy for a few reasons.
By finishing at 7-2, the Aviators finished in second place in the Bergen County Scholastic League behind Wood-Ridge, which defeated Hasbrouck Heights, 14-13, on Thanksgiving Day. The loss most likely cost Hasbrouck Heights its fourth consecutive North 1, Group 1 State Championship.
Coming into the season as an honorable mention All Bergen County player at end, Calvert started the season in the backfield, where he split time in 1947.
In the season opening loss to Ramsey, Calvert ran for 108 yards on 12 carries, scoring twice, and had two long touchdowns (80 yards and 64 yards) called back due to penalties. The Aviators lost 18-12 on a desperation touchdown pass from a reserve Ramsey running back to the end with 34 seconds remaining in the game.
Calvert bounced right back with three more touchdowns, along with three conversions, as the Aviators bounced back with a 33-0 victory over Park Ridge, moving him into second place in the Bergen County scoring race. It also set the Aviators up for their key annual matchup with Dumont for supremacy of the BCSL.
Calvert carried the load once again, scoring all of the Aviators 13 points, as Hasbrouck Heights defeated Dumont, 13-7. Calvert rushed 114 yards and two touchdowns, and converted one of two extra points.
Bergenfield was next up of the Aviators, and was dismissed, 40-6, with Calvert scoring four touchdowns and rushing 128 yards in the game. He also converted four extra points as he continued his race to top of the Bergen County scoring race.
The Westwood defense proved to be a tough challenge for Hasbrouck Heights, as the Aviators were able to squeeze by the Cardinals, 7-6. The Westwood defense held the Aviators’ rushing star to just 40 yards on the game, and it was Alan Tischbein who scored Hasbrouck Heights only touchdown. Calvert’s conversion proved to be the difference in the game.
Westwood's effort in keeping Calvert out of the end zone, allowed Conrad Manisera of Lyndhurst, who scored 35 points in a blowout of Bergenfield, to take a 16-point lead in the scoring race, with 91 points.
Calvert scored all 33 points, including a touchdown on an interception return, as the Aviators defeated Harrison, 33-14, pulling back up to near the top of the scoring race. Closter would become the next victim of the Aviators, as Hasbrouck Heights rolled in the rain on a Friday night for a 41-0 victory. Calvert ran for two touchdowns, kicked four extra points for 16 points, and threw a 30-yard touchdown pass late in the game. Due to the inclement weather, only 2,000 fans showed up at Hasbrouck Heights for the game.
Calvert fell behind in his race for the scoring lead, as Manisera posted 38 points to his total in a 61-0 victory over Lyndhurst, giving him a 23-point lead over Calvert.
The officiating, a post-game brawl between fans and players on both sides, overshadowed Calvert’s 26 points in Hasbrouck Heights 28-6 win over Fort Lee. The “riot” as it was called in "The Passaic Herald" and "The Bergen Record," stirred up controversy for much of the following week, with letters to the editor and sports writer taking sides. The officials blamed the coaches, for stirring the crowd’s emotions and protesting call. The coaches, blamed the officials, citing a clear inability to understand the rules of the game, nor how to control a game from getting out of hand.
A special meeting of the league was called to discuss the matter, with new rules and guidelines coming out the meeting, endorsed by both schools and coaches.
A "Record" sports columnist ran two letters he received during the week, one from a Fort Lee player’s parent, who claimed the brawl was instigated by Hasbrouck Heights post-game, and that his son had been punched by a Hasbrouck Heights fan. The other, from a neutral observer, who had sat on the Fort Lee sideline, had a different view.
The issue in his mind, was simply the talent of Calvert, who had already broken off runs of 40 and 70 yards for scores, and made Fort Lee look bad. Immediately, the Fort Lee crowd began calling for someone to “take him out”. The second half was played with Fort Lee players kicking and piling on Calvert after plays. When he was taken out limping, after a cheap shot in the second half, the "crowd cheered."
It was reported during the original game stories that the "riot" started when a Fort Lee player attacked the Hasbrouck Heights quarterback after the game, and fans, players and police reponded to the original fight. The article did not identify the Hasbrouck Heights player by name. During the season, different newspapers listed different players in different positions, with the "Passaic Herald News" listing Calvert at quarterback, and the "Bergen Record" listing Alan Tischbein as the quarterback for the Aviators.
Fort Lee was the next to last game of the regular season, leaving just the Thanksgiving Day game with Wood-Ridge. Wood-Ridge, sitting undefeated in league play, defeated the Aviators, 14-13 in front of 3,500 spectators in Hasbrouck Heights. The victory gave Wood-Ridge their second outright title of the decade. Hasbrouck Heights, would settle for second place. Calvert scored one touchdown and one extra point in the game.
Calvert, with 157 points, would set a Bergen County scoring title, as Manisera would be held scoreless in Lyndhurst’s final two games. Calvert would be named Second Team All Group 1, First Team All Bergen County (by "The Bergen Record") and First Team by "The Newark Morning Call."
Backfield mate Tischbein received all BCSL honors and was named honorable mention by the Record, while guard Mike Mazzola was named all BCSL and Third Team All County.
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