HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - The Roaring Twenties.
It was a period of economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge in the United States, particularly in major cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, President Warren G. Harding "brought back normalcy" to the politics of the United States, after the “ultra-patriotism of the World War I era.
For Hasbrouck Heights High School football, under the leadership of head coach Jonas R. Schreffler, it was about beginning a new tradition, one of winning. While the teams had shown success before, the 1920's saw the Aviators capture five straight league titles as members of Bergen County Scholastic League, including three in a row.
A state championship in 1925 capped off their most acclaimed season of the decade, even if they finished with only a 4-2-2 record. About the only thing that was not successful about the decade was the results of their rivalry with their new hated rivals to the south, East Rutherford.
Schreffler, nicknamed "Bull" by the local media of the time, was also a vice-principal and then principal at Hasbrouck Heights High School. He was also highly respected for his experience as a college football player, playing at Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania. His teams were known for being rugged defenders, especially for a team that was undersized.
(Records for this era are incomplete, so a game-by-game accounting is not available, nor can a cumulative record be given. Only three game results can be found for 1922.)
The decade started off slowly, with a 3-3-2 season in 1920, and 4-3-2 in 1921. Led by All North Jersey Honorable mention choices Robert Bell (Right halfback) and left tackle Bernard Gang, the Orange and Black finished 8-2 in 1923, capturing their first league title in school history. They started the season 8-0, before playing two games out of class, traveling down to Neptune by train and suffering a 25-0 loss, and dropping an 18-0 decision to East Rutherford, who was an area powerhouse.
East Rutherford had also taken over the role as “hated rival” and Thanksgiving Rivalry game.
The 1923 season saw the Orange and Black run through their opening eight opponents en route to a league championship . Opening the season with five straight shutouts, Hasbrouck Heights defeated a usually strong Cliffside Park team 7-0 to open the season. Park Ridge, was next, with the Orange and Black putting up a 12-0 victory.
Boonton was next, the victim of a 31-0 shellacking. The Original “hated rival”, Hackensack, was vanquished 12-0, something that was newsworthy enough to get an above the masthead headline in the "Paterson Morning Call." Emerson was next, with an 18-0 win for Hasbrouck Heights. Tenafly finally broke into the end zone, in a 20-6 Heights win.
Hasbrouck Heights eeked out a 6-0 win against Dumont, before ending their 8-0 start with a 51-0 win over Butler.
1924 was a 6-1 regular season, but no league championship.
The 1925 team captured the first state title in school history, along with the second league title. The team was only 4-2-2 on the season. (More on that in a separate story in the series.)
1926 brought a 5-3-1 season before the first three straight league titles in 1927, 1928 and 1929, with a combined 21-4-1 a record over the three seasons.
In 1927, a 7-1 season, Hasbrouck Heights had allowed only 12 points coming into their Thanksgiving game with East Rutherford. The Orange and Black lost out on their bid for an undefeated season with a 14-9 loss to the hated rivals, ruining everyone’s turkey. The two schools were both awarded league championships in their class by the Bergen County Interscholastic League.
1928, Hasbrouck Heights was 6-2, getting upended 32-6 by Belleville in the season opener, before running off six straight wins. Once again, the Orange and Black were defeated by East Rutherford in the season’s final game, 20-6.
Hasbrouck Heights once again flirted with an undefeated season in 1929, finishing 8-1-1. The Orange and Black wandered around a bit, picking up wins outside the area, defeating Pearl River, 12-7 and Carteret, 20-14, before laying a 24-0 shutout on Park Ridge. Roxbury was next with another 24-0 shutout win. Ramsey managed a 6-6 tie with the Orange and Black.
Westwood (15-0), Dumont (31-0), Lyndhurst (6-0) and Nyack (20-0) made it four straight shutouts heading into the season ending game with East Rutherford. Once again, East Rutherford would come out on top, with 13-6 win.
Hall of Famers who played during the decade for Hasbrouck Heights included George Eckert , 1925-26, Gary Depken 1926/27, Ed Terragni 1927-28, and Joe Maniaci, 1928-31.
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