THE GRIDIRON 1-2013
It’s great to be on THE GRIDIRON again as the CUTTERS of Fair Lawn High begin their 71st football season. Amir Saadah, a 2000 FLHS graduate who played for Mike Alberque’s 1997-99 CUTTERS, took over in 2011 as the 11th Football coach in FLHS history. He followed Marty Fischbein 1943-44, Frank Bennett 1945-60, Ed Sheehy 1961-64, Frank Devens 1965-71, Al Reinoso 1972-74, Rich Szura 1975-77, Pete Natale 1978-87, Mike Alberque 1988-2001, Greg Tanzer 2002-06 and Stan Myles 2007-10. Their combined 1943-2012 record is 317-306-14 (.509).
Championships came in the Bergen-Passaic Interscholastic League (B-PIL) in 1945, 53 and 55 with co-championships in ’46 with BUCCANEERS of Bogota and ’47 with the GOLDEN BEARS of Lyndhurst. My twin brother, Bill and I were “Water Boys” on that ’55 team. Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League (NNJIL) titles came in 1965 and 66 with a tri-championship in ’80 with the FIGHTING MUSTANGS of Clifton High and the HORNETS of Passaic Valley. Northern Bergen Interscholastic League (NBIL) Division 1 championships came in 1984, 85, 87 and 89. The State playoff system began in 1974 and our CUTTERS were in the playoffs in 1979, 80, 85, 88, 89, 2000 and 2009.
Saadah has an all-star coaching staff. Billy Lynn is offensive coordinator, Saadah has taken over the defensive coordinator role and Brian Gibbs (Son of Ramapo Coach Drew Gibbs), Dan Iozzia, Doug Lemberg and Brian Walis are assistants. Ed Guy and Andy Berninger will coach the freshman team. The names Berninger, Guy, Iozzia, Lynn, Saadah and Walis are big in FLHS Gridiron history.
Fair Lawn’s Big North Conference (BNC) Liberty Division saw early action going 1-1 (500) against outside opposition. Its champion BULLDOGS of Passaic County Technical Institute demolished the FRIARS of St. Anthony of Jersey City 28-0 while its GHOSTS of Paterson Eastside were mauled 20-6 by the BRUINS of North Bergen. In other BNC action at Kean University the COMETS of Hackensack beat the KNIGHTS of Paterson’s JFK High 34-7.
This Thursday at 7:00 our CUTTERS open the season at Tom DellaTore Field in Hackensack in BNC crossover action against those COMETS. During 1959-82 in the NNJIL, the COMETS went 16-7-1 (.696) over our CUTTERS. In 1959, Fair Lawn’s maiden season in the league, our CUTTERS beat the COMETS 27-6 and yet saw Hackensack take the title by half a game. That historic and poignant ‘59 team is being inducted in the Fair Lawn High School Athletic Hall of Fame September 21st! Frank Bennett’s 1953 B-PIL champs shared the North Jersey, Section 1, Group III State title with the COMETS. Mike Alberque’s 2000 CUTTERS put up a whale of a battle before losing 14-6 to the nationally ranked COMETS in the States. The 3-0 Hackensack lead in BNC crossover action in 2010 – 12 has the COMETS’ record against our CUTTERS 20-7-1 (.741). Ironically, because they scored quickly in their first ever game against the RAMS of Lodi, some called the brand new Fair Lawn team the COMETS. The saga of the CUTTERS came two games later!
Fair Lawn got ready for the season with scrimmage action against Fort Lee, Hawthorne and Secaucus culminating in a game scrimmage against the NORSEMEN of Northern Valley, Demarest. I look forward to seeing our heroes get off to a good start. From here it looks like Fair Lawn 14- Hackensack 13. GO GUTTERS GO!!!