Ridgewood Fairlawn Football Rivalry History

History Of The Ridgewood/Fairlawn Football Rivalry 1944-1983

Fair Lawn High School opened September 13, 1943 and played an independent schedule in 1943 and 1944. That first Thanksgiving Day saw the CUTTERS bite the TERRIERS of Holy Trinity High of Westfield 19-0 before beginning the rivalry against Ridgewood in 1944.

Fair Lawn joined the Bergen-Passaic Interscholastic League (B-PIL) in 1945. Ridgewood joined in 1950. The league became the Northern Bergen Interscholastic League (NBIL) in 1956 when Hawthorne, the only Passaic County school, left. Fair Lawn and Ridgewood moved up to the Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League (NNJIL) in 1959. Fair Lawn returned to the NBIL in 1984 ending the 40-year rivalry.

Fair Lawn was B-PIL champion in 1945, co-champion with Bogota in 1946, co-Champion with Lyndhurst in 1947 and champion in 1953 and 1955. Ridgewood won the B-PIL in 1950 and 1951 while taking three NBIL championships in a row in 1956, 1957, and 1958. The 1956 and 1957 seasons were back to back undefeated campaigns for Frank Mozeleski”s Maroons.

In the 1950s the Turkey Day Classic often determined the NBIL championship.

In 1959, Fair Lawn upset Hackensack 27-6 and lost 6-0 to Tenafly in a hurricane. It was the only game played in New Jersey that day. Going into the Thanksgiving game Fair Lawn had one loss and Hackensack had the loss to Fair Lawn and a tie against Ridgewood. The upset 13-7 Ridgewood victory gave Hackensack the NNJIL championship by half a game despite being beaten by Fair Lawn and tied by Ridgewood, the two new kids on the block!

Fair Lawn won the NNJIL championship in 1965 and 1966 and was tri-champion with Clifton and Passaic Valley in 1980. Ridgewood won NNJIL championships in in 1960 and 1972 under head coach Roger Sweeney.

Going into the 1966 Thanksgiving game, Fair Lawn was 8-0 (1.000) and had a 24 game non-losing streak going including ties against Ridgewood in 1964 and Hackensack in 1965. The shocking 40-34 Ridgewood upset by an upstart (2-6) Ridgewood team before a crowd of 13,000 at what later became SASSO FIELD ended the streak giving the MAROONS what many consider to be the greatest victory in the 44 year history of the rivalry. But, Fair Lawn still took the NNJIL title. NBIL Division 1 titles followed in 1984, ‘85, ‘87 and ‘89.

In 2012 the rivalry was renewed in Big North Conference (BNC) crossover action, but not on Thanksgiving. Ridgewood took all four games in the revival of the rivalry under head coach Chuck Johnson.



2012 Fair Lawn 0 Ridgewood 38 A Ridgewood 27-11-3 (.711)

2013 Fair Lawn 6 Ridgewood 53 A Ridgewood 28-11-3 (.718)

2014 Fair Lawn 6 Ridgewood 46 A Ridgewood 29-11-3 (.725)

2015 Fair Lawn 14 Ridgewood 41 A Ridgewood 30-11-3 (.732)