HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - The search that started when Jeff Scheetz stepped down to become a school administrator did not have far to look to find Hasbrouck Heights next coach. He was already coaching the girls' softball team, in addition to being an assistant coach on Scheetz’ staff, so they knew who they were getting. After all, he had played for Hasbrouck Heights famed 1969 squad, and was one of nine kids who came through the Hasbrouck Heights school system.
What no one could have imagined is that Nick Delcalzo would still the head coach as we head into 2020.
Of course, the way his career started, it really should not surprise anyone that he has lasted so long.
Inheriting a talented team from Scheetz, the "Passaic Herald News" noted in its story about the Aviators season opener that Delcalzo was getting “a baptism under fire” when Hasbrouck Heights opened under the lights against a Bogota team that went 6-3 the year before.
A 38-0 victory over the Bucs served notice that the Aviators would do just fine under their first year coach. Quarterback Ron Blauvelt ran for three touchdowns and passed for another as the Aviators’ offense kicked off the season in sync. Randy Riordan and Mike Krommenhoek also scored for Hasbrouck Heights. The defense gave up just two first downs while picking up the shutout.
Both Krommenhoek brothers, Tom and Mike, along with Riordan scored touchdowns and the Aviators defense held Weehawken to a negative 34-yards rushing as Hasbrouck Heights beat the Indians, 24-0. Blauvelt scored his fourth touchdown of the season for the Aviators final score.
Blauvelt scored three more in the Aviators 34-6 win over Wallington, which saw the Aviators defensive current season shutout streak end at nine consecutive quarters. A showdown with Cresskill was next, as the Cougars were also 3-0.
The Aviators defense was once again dominant, recording eight sacks of the Cresskill quarterback and recorded three interceptions for a 29-7 win. The Aviators pulled way after being tied at 7-7. Blauvelt broke the tie with a 9-yard touchdown run, and then hit Scott Roche with a touchdown pass as the Aviators broke the game open.
Fort Lee handed the Delcalzo his first loss, as the Bridgemen ran the opening kick back for a touchdown, and took advantage of Aviators turnovers for a 14-7 upset of Hasbrouck Heights.
The Aviators defense responded, as the Aviators recorded back-to-back shutouts, defeating Ridgefield (33-0) and Emerson (20-0). Ridgefield, who came into the game undefeated, felt the sting of Blauvelt’s running. The senior quarterback scored three touchdowns and rushed for 140 yards on just seven carries in leading the offense.
Sophomore punt returner Robert Carcich returned a punt 80 yards following Emerson’s first offensive possession, and the Aviators had a 7-0 lead before the offense ever took the field. A defensive touchdown by Scott Roberts and a rushing touchdown by Riordan gave the Aviators the hard fought victory effort in a 41-8 win over Bergen Tech and allowed the Aviators to be sitting at 7-1 when it came to NJSIAA playoff selection time. The Aviators drew Cresskill, a rare opportunity to play a team twice in the same season.
Jim Brown would lead the defense, and Riordan broke a 70-yard touchdown run following an interception by Robert Richmond. Mike Krommenhoek would score an insurance touchdown set up by Roberts’ recovery of a Cresskill fumble inside the 20.
Blauvelt rushed for one touchdown, and returned an interception for another touchdown, to lead Hasbrouck Heights to a 32-14 win over Wood-Ridge on the Monday following Thanksgiving in a game that was postponed twice.
The North 1, Group 1 sectional title was one of the earliest State Championship Classic games, which saw the Aviators fall 10-7, to New Milford, in double overtime. Blauvelt had given the Aviators a 7-0 lead with 1:40 in the fourth quarter. But the Aviators defense, which had been so dominant all season, uncharacteristically allowed a 58-yard Hail Mary touchdown, sending the game into overtime.
Neither team scored in the first overtime, and New Milford kicked a 28-yard field goal to take the lead in the second overtime. Hasbrouck Heights drove the ball to the New Milford two yard line, and facing a fourth and goal at the two, Delcalzo went for the win rather than kick a field goal and play another overtime period. But Mike Krommenhoek’s plunge for the end zone came up inches short.
Afterwards Delcalzo stated that the sharp angle for the in-close field goal was the reason he went for the win rather than the tie. The team, which had outscored opponents 279 to 58 on the season, just came up inches short from a state championship in Delcalzo’s first year.
Brown, at defensive line, led a trio of Aviators on the All-County team, joined by linebacker Mike Krommenhoek and defensive back Jerry Rifenbark. Center Dan Cykwick was named Second Team All County while Roberts, at tackle was Third Team. Blauvelt was the First Team All BCSL-Olympic quarterback, while Tom Krommenhoek (defensive line) was joined on the Second Team All League team by guard Ernie Mastria, linebacker Mike Mastria, running back Randy Riordan and tight end Scott Roche. Matt D’Amato and Dave Palmieri were granted Honorable Mentions.
TAPinto Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge/Teterboro is Hasbrouck Heights, Wood-Ridge and Teterboro’s free daily news source, and is the official newspaper of the Hasbrouck Heights Board of Education and Hasbrouck Heights Borough Council.
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