After 35 Seasons, Dave Powell Says So Long to the Pompton Lakes Football PA Booth

Photo courtesy of Mike London

 

By Steve Sears

For 85-year-old Dave Powell, it’s been a nice ride. After 35 years as Pompton Lakes High School Cardinals football public address announcer, he’s said goodbye to the booth and microphone.

During Powell’s last home game on Saturday, October 23, Athletic Director Mike London at the end of the first quarter entered the press box and stopped the game, and made the announcement regarding Powell’s retirement. “Everybody started clapping,” Powell says, “and I waved, and the whole team came over, and the whole team and the coaches had signed one of the footballs, and they gave that to me, and they gave me a plaque. I really felt humbled there and was like, ‘Wow!’”

“I moved up here in 1968,” says Powell, who now lives in Pompton Plains. “I went to my first football game at Hershfield Park and got really hooked. My son (Lee) played football there also, and then my daughter (Dana) was a cheerleader and gymnast, so I have a lot of good memories – fond memories – of Pompton Lakes High School.”

Powell was married for 61 years to the late Donna Powell.

For Powell, Saturdays were about pigskin camaraderie. “I really enjoyed going down before the game and doing the homework, getting all the name pronunciations,” he says. “Sometimes you have uncommon names, and sometimes you ask the coaches, and they’ve always been so helpful in giving you the names and the key positions, the captains of the team, number changes, and things like that. The coaches have always got a lot to do before the game, the pregame, to get them (the teams) ready and everything, but they’ve always taken the time to go over things. It’s really remarkable, all the cooperation you get from all the coaches in North Jersey.”

Memories abound for Powell, who was at the mic for some great teams. “We’ve won at least five state championships that I can remember,” he says. “We beat Westwood in a 7 – 6 nail-biter years ago, and then we had another where we went to Meadowlands and beat Hasbrouck Heights, one of the better small schools in North Jersey. And then we had a run between 2011, ’12, and ‘13. We won three straight state championships. We beat Glen Rock, and another year we beat Hasbrouck Heights, and another year we beat Cedar Grove. Those were really unbelievable years to see something like that. They (the Cardinals) won like 33 games and they only lost about two, I believe, in that period. That was unbelievable.” He has a favorite contest. “Probably the greatest game that I ever saw was against DePaul Catholic of Wayne,” Powell says. “They won the state championship that year, and they had great players. They had Vyto Kab, who played with the Philadelphia Eagles, and Tommy Vigorito, who played five years with the Miami Dolphins. They had a great, great team and we played them down at Wayne Valley. That game went on with no scoring and was very hard hitting until there was about 40 seconds to go, and we had our field goal kicker, Barry Mcbain. He kicked about a 37 or 38-yard field goal with 40 seconds to go, and we won – we beat them!” 

And while it’s been a pleasure for Powell to watch and call the names of every Cardinal player since 1986, he cites Charlie Getty as the best. “He was the best player I’ve seen on both sides of the ball, a lineman. And he went to Penn State where he was an All-American, and then he spent eight years with the Kansas City Chiefs and two years with the Green Bay Packers. He was a tremendous player. I think he was a left guard.”

Colleen Moyle is the former Athletic Director at the school. “I always call him Dave,” she says, “but it’s just so hard for me because he’s always been Mr. Powell. I went to school with his daughter who graduated two years ahead of me, and then I knew his son, Lee. We just kind of go back. So, although I was AD for 19 years, I knew the Powell family previous to that. But you know, when I think of Mr. Powell, he just represents everything that’s great about small town football. You know the saying, “Small town, big heart”? I think that epitomizes Mr. Powell up in that booth.”

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