By Dick Engelhardt
The Cutters of Fair Lawn High lost a 32-29 thriller to the Knights of Paterson’s JFK last Saturday at Sasso Field in Big North Conference (BNC) crossover action.
Captains Thomas Koike, Richard Marchese, Mike Nieman and Nick Perez went out for the coin toss which Kenedy won and deferred to the second half. Our Cutters moved the ball with runs by Carlos Carlone and passes by QB Dillon Rinaldo to David Rodriguez, but an interception led to a Kennedy score. The Knights scored again and led 26-0 before runs by Zach Parisi and a pass to David Milnes (grandson of Fair Lawn luminary “Pop” Milnes) and a run by Rinaldo got the ball deep into JFK territory. Rinaldo passed to Rodriguez for a TD and with Niemnan snapping and Milnes holding, the sure footed Ari Moslavi kicked the point after. Kennedy led 26-7 at the half.
The Knights went up 32-7 and our heroes roared back. Parisi’s TD run and Moslavi’s kick made it 32-14. Parisi scored again and the PAT made it 32-21. With 37 seconds on the clock Rinaldo threw to Koike for a TD and ran for the 2 point conversion. The ensuing on-side kick didn’t go 10 yards and the Knights took a knee to end the game. Deshawn Roberts blocked a PAT and Matt Phillips blocked a punt. Nice plays on “D” were made by Dan Morganstein, Nieman, Frank Ortoll, Justin Williams and others. Jacob Baron made a TD saving tackle. Our Cutters lead the 1951-58, 1988, 2003 and 2009-12 rivalry against Kennedy and its predecessor Colts of Paterson Central 8-6 (.571).
It was the third game in that first season of 1943 that resulted in the naming of the Cutters of Fair Lawn High. I told the crowd the story about that fateful Leonia JV game in my “Walk Down Memory Lane.” I’ll tell it in detail here in The Gridiron after Fair Lawn’s October 12 “Bye” when there is no game to report on.
Drew Gibbs, the coach of the Green Raiders of Ramapo, was at the game. He’s a class guy and his son, Brian, is on Amir Saadah’s staff at Fair Lawn. Ramapo took the 1956-58 and 1984-2008 Northern Bergen Interscholastic League (NBIL) rivalry with Fair Lawn 17-11 (.607).
In Fair Lawn’s BNC Liberty Division, the defending champion Bulldogs of Passaic Tech shutout the Fighting Mustangs of Clifton High 27-0. The Division went 0-2 (.500) against outside opposition. In addition to Fair Lawn’s loss, The Ghosts of Paterson Eastside were beaten 45-20 by those Green Raiders of Ramapo. The Division is 3-6 (.333) against outside opposition.
This Friday night at 7 our Cutters travel to Boverini Stadium in Passaic to take on the Indians for the seventh time. Pete Natale’s Cutters roared from behind to beat the Indians 27-18 in first round playoff action at Giants Stadium in 1980 and lost a 1985 playoff game 36-26 at Passaic in 1985. Stan Myles’ Cutters edged the Indians 39-38 in playoff action in 2009. Fair Lawn’s 2-1 record in 2010-12 BNC action, brought our record against Passaic to 4-2 (.667). Both teams are 0-3. Passaic has been outscored 92-12 for an average 31-4 loss. Fair Lawn has been outscored 95-32 for an average 32-11 loss.
I think our Cutters can get their first victory. From here it looks like Fair Lawn 21 - Passaic 6. Go Cutters Go!