THE GRIDIRON 16-2012
By Dick Engelhardt
Amir Saadah became the Fair Lawn Football Coach in 2011. His second season, 2012, was the 70th in the history of Fair Lawn High. Our CUTTERS entered it with a 1943-2011 record of 315-298-14 (.509). The season was a disappointing one but not a failure. The lessons learned in sportsmanship, teamwork and overcoming adversity will be with these CUTTERS as long as they live!
Expecting a good season, our CUTTERS started out with a strong effort but fell 33-12 to the playoff bound COMETS of Hackensack. After losing close games to the FIGHTING MUSTANGS of Clifton High and the KNIGHTS of JFK, our heroes beat the INDIANS of Passaic 14-7. They, along with almost everybody else, were outclassed by the IRONMEN of Don Bosco. No public school should have to play the parochial behemoths unless it wants to. The Big North Conference (BNC) Liberty Division champion playoff bound BULLDOGS of Passaic County Technical Institute had to come from behind to beat our CUTTERS. The playoff bound LANCERS of Lakeland and MAROONS of Ridgewood shut Fair Lawn out 38 and 43 to 0. Then the Paterson Eastside game went down to the wire. With our CUTTERS on the Eastside 3 yard line with 11 seconds on the clock, an interception saved the playoff bound GHOSTS’ 29-27 victory.
In State Consolation action, our “never-say-die” CUTTERS came from behind to beat the MUSTANGS of Montville 32- 27 with 13 seconds on the clock, closing out the season. Fair Lawn is 8-5 (.615) in Consolation Game action since these games began in 1998. Our CUTTERS finished the season 2-8 (.200) bringing their 1943-2012 record to 317-306-14 (.509). The losing season was only the 28th in FLHS GRIDIRON history!
The Ridgewood game, the last regularly scheduled home game, was poignant as seniors soon to end their participation in the football program were honored and introduced with their escorts. We said goodbye and wished the best to: George Alexandris, Jack Anderson, Tlyer Argot, Kris Burger, Corey Carlson, Brian Centeno, Pete Danko, Luke Emerson, Matthew Ferry, Dan Laboy, Scott Marcoux, Kevin Osback, John Pagios, Franklyn Ramirez, Brendan Sibilio, Nick Toronto, Nick Tsinkelis, Mike Venezia, Lane White and Jeff Welsh. Fans at the game were treated to the sight of a jacket inscribed “B-PIL Champions 1955.” The wearer turned out to be the right halfback, Jim “Crazy Legs” Harrison. The crowd gave him a nice hand when I introduced him. My twin brother, Bill, and I were “Water Boys” on legendary Coach Frank Bennett’s ’55 championship team.
The return of a number of players next season and the large freshmen group moving up could see our CUTTERS improve. I enjoyed being “The Voice of the Cutters on the Gridiron” for the 16th season and working for the second season with my spotter, Shawn Kerestes. For 30 years before that my twin brother, Bill, and I were the “spotters” for long time popular Fair Lawn announcer Joe Hausmann, who now announces for the HIGHLANDERS of Northern Highlands and the IRONMEN of Don Bosco. I can hardly wait for next year! Until then, GO CUTTERS GO!!!