Belleville and Nutley will meet for a 76th time on the gridiron on Nov. 3, at the Oval, in Nutley, starting at 1:30 p.m.
As with any series, there are plenty of key statistics and nostalgia which comes with the game itself. Here are some interesting tidbits for the fans, as they prepare for this years’ renewal.
Nutley leads the series, which began in 1924 and was played continuously from 1944-2015, 52-19-4. The Raiders are 26-4-2 against Belleville since 1984, including 18 wins in the last 19 games and an 11-game winning streak (1997-2007), the longest in the series.
For nearly 40 years, the game was played on, or around Columbus Day. In 1983, it was moved to Opening Day and the following year, the Belleville-Nutley game was moved to Thanksgiving, where it stood for the next 28 seasons. In 2012, it was moved to opening day and was Nutley’s season opener through 2015.
Belleville’s longest win streak in the series was six in a row from 1978 through 1983. Belleville’s 44-7 win in 1952 was its largest margin of victory in the series while Nutley’s 62-12 victory in 2015 was its largest margin of victory.
There have been 31 shutouts in the series, with Nutley accounting for 22. Among those shutouts was a scoreless tie in 1975, despite the fact that Belleville appeared to score two touchdowns, but both were called back because of penalties in a driving rainstorm at the Oval.
Guy Albanese turns upfield for good yardage in a game against Belleville, in 1975. The game ended in a scoreless tie, at the Oval, in a driving rain. (Click on photo for larger image)
In 2009, the scoreboard almost exploded in a game won by Nutley, 58-36. Among the marks broken in that contest were most combined points in a game (94) and most points scored by the winning and losing team in a game.
There are four ties in the series, including back-to-back stalemates in 1992 and 1993. There has also been one overtime game in the rivalry, back in 1997, which Nutley won, 20-14.
Belleville will play at the Oval this year, seeking its first win there since 1983.
Former Belleville head coach, Chris Strumolo, played football at Nutley from 1988-1991, where he was 3-1 against Belleville and coached the Bucs from 2008-2010, where he was 1-2 against his former school. Rich SanFillipo played at Belleville from 1964-1966 (he was 1-1-1 as a player) and later coached the Raiders from 1990-1997, where he was 4-2-2 against his alma mater.
Belleville’s John Senesky has the most wins in the series as a head coach from either program. Senesky was 9-9-2 against the Raiders in 20 seasons. As a player for the Bellboys from 1960-1963, Senesky was 1-3 against his rival. When Belleville beat Nutley, 33-12, in 1962, Senesky scored a touchdown. In his senior year, 1963, Senesky broke his leg in the game against Nutley, but didn’t know it was broken for two weeks and continued to play.
Nutley’s Sandy Phillips was 8-1-1 against Belleville from 1955-1964.
Jim Kelly never lost against Belleville. A former Nutley player from 1973-1976, where his teams were 3-0-1 against the Bellboys, Kelly was 6-0 as a coach against the Bucs from 1998-2003.
Mario Cocchiola was also unbeaten as a coach against Belleville, compiling a 4-0-1 mark from 1973-1977.
Steve DiGregorio, played for the Raiders from 1975-1978 (he was 2-1-1 against the Bellboys and Bucs) and was 7-1 against Belleville as a Nutley head coach from 2004-2011. DiGregorio returned as head coach in 2017 and will look to tie Phillips as the all-time winningest Nutley coach in the rivalry, this Saturday.
Tom Basile was 4-0 against Belleville as a head coach, from 2012-2015.
Belleville’s last win the series came in 2008, when Strumolo, a first-year head coach, guided the Bucs to a 22-12 victory at Doc Ellis Field.
This season, Belleville head coach Jermain Johnson will coach in his first game in the rivalry.
Here are the scores of the first 75 Belleville-Nutley games.
1924: Nutley 7, Belleville 0.
1928: Nutley 12, Belleville 7.
1930: Nutley 2, Belleville 0.
1944: Nutley 6, Belleville 0.
1945: Belleville 7, Nutley 6.
1946: Nutley 7, Belleville 0.
1947: Belleville 7, Nutley 0.
1948: Nutley 37, Belleville 13.
1949: Belleville 7, Nutley 0.
1950: Belleville 6, Nutley 0.
1951: Nutley 7, Belleville 2.
1952: Belleville 44, Nutley 7.
1953: Belleville 12, Nutley 0.
1954: Nutley 26, Belleville 0.
1955: Nutley 21, Belleville 6.
1956: Nutley 13, Belleville 0.
1957: Nutley 13, Belleville 0.
1958: Nutley 19, Belleville 7.
1959: Nutley 7, Belleville 0.
1960: Nutley 34, Belleville 0.
1961: Nutley 20, Belleville 0.
1962: Belleville 33, Nutley 12.
1963: Nutley 19, Belleville 12.
1964: Nutley 6, Belleville 6 (tie).
1965: Belleville 14, Nutley 7.
1966: Nutley 13, Belleville 7.
1967: Nutley 38, Belleville 7.
1968: Nutley 14, Belleville 0.
1969: Nutley 33, Belleville 13.
1970: Nutley 23, Belleville 8.
1971: Belleville 7, Nutley 6.
1972: Nutley 7, Belleville 0.
1973: Nutley 21, Belleville 8.
1974: Nutley 7, Belleville 3.
1975: Belleville 0, Nutley 0 (tie).
1976: Nutley 14, Belleville 0.
1977: Nutley 7, Belleville 0.
1978: Belleville 31, Nutley 0.
1979: Belleville 7, Nutley 0.
1980: Belleville 13, Nutley 7.
1981: Belleville 26, Nutley 0.
1982: Belleville 10, Nutley 3.
1983: Belleville 12, Nutley 6.
1984: Nutley 19, Belleville 6.
1985: Nutley 14, Belleville 0.
1986: Belleville 27, Nutley 16.
1987: Nutley 14, Belleville 0.
1988: Nutley 38, Belleville 13.
1989: Nutley 6, Belleville 0.
1990: Belleville 21, Nutley 6.
1991: Nutley 28, Belleville 6.
1992: Nutley 7, Belleville 7 (tie).
1993: Belleville 14, Nutley 14 (tie).
1994: Nuitley 14, Belleville 6.
1995: Nutley 34, Belleville 0.
1996: Belleville 20, Nutley 0.
1997: Nutley 20, Belleville 14 (OT).
1998: Nutley 28, Belleville 0.
1999: Nutley, 17, Belleville 3.
2000: Nutley 28, Belleville 13.
2001: Nutley 14, Belleville 12.
2002: Nutley 41, Belleville 6.
2003: Nutley 34, Belleville 9.
2004: Nutley 27, Belleville 0.
2005: Nutley 44, Belleville 9.
2006: Nutley 28, Belleville 13.
2007: Nutley 15, Belleville 10.
2008: Belleville 22, Nutley 12.
2009: Nutley 58, Belleville 36.
2010: Nutley 29, Belleville 22.
2011: Nutley 49, Belleville 14.
2012: Nutley 17, Belleville 12.
2013: Nutley 45, Belleville 0.
2014: Nutley 42, Belleville 0.
2015: Nutley 62, Belleville 12.
TOP 10 WINS BY BELLEVILLE, IN THE RIVALRY
No. 10-1971, Belleville 7, Nutley 6: Joe Lotriglio scored the Bellboys’ only touchdown in the first half and Belleville hung on for a 7-6 victory at the Nutley Oval.
No. 9-1983. Belleville 12, Nutley 6: After a generation of playing this rivalry on the third week of the season, it shifted to week five of the 1982 campaign, then on to opening weekend in 1983. The Bucs were in the midst of a dominant run in the rivalry. having won five straight from 1978-1982. In this game, Belleville opened a 12-0 lead into the fourth quarter before the Raiders cut the lead in half. Belleville went to a 12-6 victory. Nutley would actually have a better overall season in ’83, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in school history, under second year head coach Pete LaBarbiera. The Bucs had a solid season, finishing 6-3, but missed the playoffs.
This win by Belleville in ’83 marked the last time, to date, that the Bucs have beaten the Raiders at the Oval.
No. 8-1980, Belleville 13, Nutley 7: The Bucs were the heavy favorites in the first-ever night game between the two rivals, but the Raiders played really well in this week three contest. The game was tied at seven in the fourth quarter before Belleville quarterback John Melillo ran 45 yards for the winning score. The ’80 Bucs actually started slowly that season, but ended up with a nine game winning streak and a berth in the state sectional final at Giants Stadium. Many fans will recall that this game actually got the Bucs off and running.
No. 7-1975, Belleville 0, Nutley 0 (tie): A tremendous week three game in a steady downpour at the Oval ended up in a scoreless tie. Belleville had the better scoring opportunities, including what appeared to be a punt return for a touchdown by Anthony ‘Chipper’ Biafore, but the score was called back because of a clipping penalty. Nutley had a late chance to score, but the Bellboys defense held. This would be the only scoreless tie in the series’ history.
No. 6-1990. Belleville 21, Nutley 6: The Bucs’ offensive line would dominate this game, as Belleville snapped a three game losing streak to Nutley, at Doc Ellis Field. Carmen Spina was named Belleville’s MVP. The big play occurred in the first quarter, when Belleville blocked a punt and Billy Salvatore returned it for a touchdown. The ’90 Bucs would finish the season at 6-3. No Belleville team has won six games since.
No. 5-1996, Belleville 20, Nutley 0: In John Senesky’s final game as head coach after a record 20 seasons at the helm, Belleville played a solid game and beat Nutley for the first time in six years. The number 20 had a lot of meaning here, in that it was Senesky’s 20th season, with 20 seniors, in a 20-0 win.
No. 4-1986, Belleville 27, Nutley 16: The Bucs beat Nutley for the first time, ever, on Thanksgiving, as Jeff Spilsbury and Jim Dunphy paced the way to an impressive win. The Bucs led 27-0 at one point before Nutley scored two fourth quarter touchdowns. The win put a nice finish on a 6-3 season, that included six wins in the team’s last seven games. The Bucs also won an NNJIL title that season, the program’s last conference crown, to date.
No. 3-2008. Belleville 22, Nutley 12: No question, a huge win for a team that hadn’t beaten the Raiders in 12 years. A solid Belleville offense was paced by quarterback Nicky Herrmann, as Belleville won on a sloppy turf at Doc Ellis, to finish 5-4 in the regular season.
No. 2-1992. Belleville 7, Nutley 7 (tie): For a long time, this was my number one game in the series, but I’ll bump it to second here. Nutley was en route to a state championship in ’92, with a 7-1-1 record, when the teams met on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, while a hard-nosed Belleville team was 3-5, but had played much better than the record would indicate. Belleville and Nutley both had chances to win it late with a field goal, but both kicks were wide. John Alvarado and Mike Citarella stood out on defense for the Bucs.
No. 1-1978, Belleville 31, Nutley 0: There was so much symbolism in this game, as the new-look Bucs dominated from the beginning to beat Nutley for the first time in 12 years at home. Quarterback Ed Aulisi and running back Mike Nicosia paced the offense while team captains Angelo Santinelli and Joe D’Agostino paced the defense. Belleville would finish 6-3 in ’78, marking the beginning of seven straight seasons of outstanding football at BHS.