[Posted 1/8/08]

OK…we’re back on a more normal schedule and as we pick up the story, it’s all about Summit football this fall and Willie Wilson’s senior year.

But first, I saw in the Herald on 9/27/73 that 1972 had been the first full year of operation for the Summit dump and the city saved $18,000.  You see, sports fans, Summit had been taking its trash to Piscataway but that facility was closing, thus necessitating that Summit find an alternative.  I’ve got to tell you, all these years later a trip to the dump is one of life’s true pleasures.  I live in New Providence but have a Summit employer sticker so (don’t tell anyone) I kind of sneak in during the week when it first opens up and the workers are more interested in their coffee than nailing offenders.  I could never chance a weekend, where upon arrest I could face 10-20 years.

Anyway, back to Summit football, the Hilltoppers came away victorious in the opener against Piscataway, 24-16, as Willie scored three touchdowns, two on TD passes of 17- and 28-yards from George Gross.  Ernie Gwathney added a 31-yard scoring romp.

But you might be thinking, hey, four TDs and only 24 points?  Willie missed three extra points, and a fourth attempt at a two-point conversion failed.  Wilson was also flattened in the middle of the second quarter and didn’t get up for a spell.   He sat out the rest of the half but came back in the second.

Then in the next contest, Summit won its school record 11th in a row with a 14-0 win over Governor Livingston.  It was expected to be a romp, but after taking the opening kickoff 88 yards for a score (and finally making an extra point), Willie Wilson suffered a recurrence of the back injury that sidelined him the previous week and Wilson was sidelined the rest of the GL game.  In fact he was later taken to Overlook for treatment and observation.  Ernie Gwathney picked up the slack and ran for 75 yards on 16 carries, including a decisive 4th quarter 41-yard TD scamper.  Shelley Green, filling in for Willie, booted the extra point and the defense did its part.

Elsewhere on the Summit sports scene, the Cross Country team got off to a 4-0 start, led by Mike Paytas, Mark McMinimy and Dave Sehnert.  There was a picture of us in the Herald and yours truly’s name was spelled “Trymbore.”  Granted, I was pretty svelt then, but I’ve never been called Trymbore before.  Jim Wohlgemuth became “Wohlegenauth.”   The two of us should have sued the paper, but any exposure is good exposure, right?

As for the soccer team, they split their first two games, defeating West Orange 5-0 before losing a tough overtime decision to Caldwell, 2-1.  Goals over the two contests were scored by J.P. Dunne (2), Matt Bowyer (2), Don Minkler and Bruce Thomson. Others playing extensively this fall were John Combias in goal, Doug Colson, Brad Evers, Rick Constant, Tim Ilsley, Bob Owen, and Jim Caporaso.

Meanwhile, at the Meadowbrook dinner theatre, Pat Cooper, while at The Strand, “Godspell” was playing.

Apartment rents were soaring in 1973 as Summit essentially had zero vacancies, while Knicks star Bill Bradley appeared at a children’s press conference at Wilson School.  Bradley was also in town for a Democratic Party fundraiser.

Lastly, velour shirts were $15.90 at Tepper’s, guys.  We were stylin’.

Next installment Jan. 31.  Does Willie come back from injury?


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