North Jersey football teams are still feeling the effects of Ida


Outside of Cresskill High School, the parking lot is still covered with a layer of muddy brown mud.

As you walk up to Arch Shaw Field, there is a staging area adjacent to the school with desks and chairs stacked up. Inside the building there are lights on and fans humming.

Hurricane Ida left a legacy of destruction on the Gulf Coast north of Jersey. The goal is to get back to normal. But no one knows how long it will take.

“It’s heartbreaking”

Cresskill football coach Kevin Quinn had the foresight to tell his football team to bring home their helmets and shoulder pads the night before Ida’s remains hit.

“Traditionally, when we get a lot of rain, our parking lot gets flooded,” Quinn said. “It wasn’t a parking lot flood.”

Quinn was standing on his relatively dry football pitch after Hasbrouck Heights beat his Cougars, 28-0, on Friday night. Of all things, the first half was played in constant rain, but the grass field held up well.

But there are still signs of Ida’s devastation.

Quinn said she lost all of the team’s video equipment inside the building. He won. He had a binder full of game plans from decades ago – hey, a coach never knows when he might want to see an old play or two. It’s also gone.

Cresskill is actually in a valley, with Tenakill Creek nearby. The school is in a flood plain, but this has never happened before.

“I heard people say we had a rain of biblical proportions that night and it happened,” Quinn said.

Cresskill athletic director Beth Delvecchio is still trying to find out what she lost. The school has requested to switch to distance learning while a backup site can be found and used. The football team had to train on a scoreless pitch. The football team was able to step onto its main pitch on Monday.

“It’s really heartbreaking,” said Delvecchio. “Besides hosting all the sports teams and stuff, we toured the building to assess what we lost.”

If there is a good thing, maybe it’s just that Cresskill has a field of grass and Mother Nature can fix it. A grass field would have required major repairs.

“To be honest that’s one of the reasons they delayed the turf pitch,” Delvecchio said, “because it’s considered a flood plain and it was always a concern if they put There is a lot of money to replace lawns.

“An attitude of gratitude”

It’s hard to be a hurricane expert, but when you grow up in South Louisiana like me, you can’t help it.

My sister and I were able to convince my dad, 86, to stay in a hotel as Ida neared my hometown of Slidell. For once he was listening. He was lost in Katrina for three days, surviving the original storm surge while standing on the air conditioning units.

But you can’t say too much to an old man in the Navy. He stayed in a hotel. For a day. The hotel has lost power. Dad came home. Power returned to the hotel. (We know because we called to pick it up.) Dad spent five days at home without electricity, eating soup, tending to his garden. His house was at 80 degrees. He was not going to leave again.

My Uncle Bub, née Eugene, Helmstetter’s house backs onto a bayou that connects to Lake Pontchartrain (yes, in Louisiana we have bayous and we have Uncle Bubs). Unfortunately, it floods all the time.

By her estimate, Ida was the third worst storm behind Hurricane Katrina (thrill) and Rita (the sneaky villain nobody talks about). The water almost got into his house, which is saying a lot since his house was raised. Twice.

He stayed with my other uncle for a week, came home, and the power came back on. For a day. Then it’s off again. Twelve days, no electricity. He took showers in the rain outside, spent his time packing and repacking coolers.

Louisiana has virtually no social services. The garbage collectors do not come. Uncle Bub jokes that he got mail three times in the last week – that’s pretty good – but it’s so delayed that when he gets bills, they arrive after they’re already due.

Yet he looks around and realizes that he is better off than a lot of people. New Orleans is always a mess. The coastline is a disaster. “I have an attitude of gratitude,” he told me over the phone on Saturday morning.

“It was very hard”

The Pulse, Dwight Morrow’s group, thunder in the stands to see the Raiders play at Pascack Hills on Saturday. They are in great shape, lively and fair.

The football team is not. Dwight Morrow’s stadium and grounds were destroyed by Ida’s flash floods.

“It was very hard. We just received jerseys yesterday, ”said Dwight Morrow coach Joe Hoyle. “We don’t have bottled water. We had to go and buy our own bottled water. We had to buy two new decanters. We can’t suit everyone because we don’t have any material. It’s literally out of stock. I have six players that we cannot equip and who can really help our team.

I counted 21 players in Dwight Morrow shirts on the sidelines. Saturday was even more emotional as the team attended the funeral of a teammate’s relative before the Pascack Hills game. They knelt during the national anthem. Aside from some impressive runs and Aaron Wingster’s difficult play, Dwight Morrow fell to Pascack Hills, 34-0.

Hoyle explained how the storm moved the tennis court equipment shed to the front of Winton White Stadium. Plans for what to do next are unclear, but Hoyle said they could revamp the entire area. He’s a coach, and like Quinn, adversity is his business. That’s what he’s trained for. Lead the young men, but Mother Nature is a tough opponent.

“I don’t know if we could put in a better drainage system, if a storm like this happens again, there’s nothing we can do,” Hoyle said. “We’re kind of limping. We are limping, but everything will be fine. “

Darren Cooper is a high school sports columnist for For full access to live scores, the latest news and analysis from our Varsity Aces team, subscribe today. To get the latest news straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter and download our app.

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