BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – On a day that felt more suitable for summer preseason than a regular season September game, Governor Livingston celebrated the legacy of former Highlander Coach Jack Bicknell on its way to a 36-29 win over North Plainfield.
Bicknell coached the Highlanders from 1964-1967, a time now referred to as the “Bicknell Era”. GL went 28-6-2 in those four seasons, including 9-0 in 1965, when the team won the school’s only state football championship. Bicknell went on to be an assistant at Boston College and then the head coach at the University of Maine for five seasons. He returned to Boston College as the head coach before the 1981 season, a position he stayed in until 1990.
Bicknell’s crowning moment as a college coach was the 1984 season, in which the BC Eagles finished the season at 10-2 and ranked No. 5 in the country. The season included quarterback Doug Flutie’s famous Hail Mary touchdown pass as time expired to beat the Miami Hurricanes. The Eagles capped it all off with a Cotton Bowl victory and Flutie winning the Heisman Trophy, given annually to college football’s best player
Members of the teams that Bicknell coached at GL were on hand for the revealing and dedication of a plaque that will now be permanently on display at the high school. While Bicknell was unable to make the ceremony, the players were honored on the field during the first quarter of the game.
The Highlanders didn’t disappoint as they played in front of their predecessors, overcoming a 16-point deficit in the first half to beat the Canucks. Quarterback Pat DeAngelis had three rushing touchdowns and threw for a fourth while amassing 289 total yards. Up by seven with 1:21 left in the game and North Plainfield driving towards the game tying score, GL’s Matt Schuman intercepted Brandon Smith’s pass to seal the victory for the Highlanders.
GL will have a bye week before they travel to Summit to face the Hilltoppers under the lights on Friday, Oct. 6. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Investors Bank Field.
Editor's Note: Check back in with TAPinto Berkeley Heights for complete photo gallery and TAPinto's conversations with the players of the "Bicknell Era."
Gov. Livingston Box Score