The History Behind the Bomber Football Success

Building Bombers into Crusaders

Our History

Following World War II, many semi-professional football teams began to establish themselves all over North Jersey. At that time in 1947, East Paterson had their Red and White Eagles starting up. Some of the young men who played on the team were Jim LaPorte and Jack McVeigh. They were just doing what many working class towns did…they played sports, particularly football.

In 1958, Mr. LaPorte was approached by several youths who wanted to play football in an organized league. So people like Scotty Beckett, Pete Ciolino, Lou Nicosia, and Jim Pantano joined in to form the East Paterson Bomber Football Association. In 1959, These men purchased equipment from a local sporting goods store to suit up as the first Bomber team.

The Bombers first game was played at East Paterson High School against Paramus. The Bombers anticipated a large crowd in hopes to pay off all the equipment. Luckily, it was a great success. The Bombers beat Paramus that first night and continued their winning ways transforming into a football powerhouse throughout North Jersey. They had the best equipment and the best coaches with Mr. LaPorte as the first Bomber coach.

It was only a couple years later that Dr. Varallo formed the first pee-wee team. Dr. Varallo had a soft spot for the kids that were a little less than great. Unfortunately, he was taken from us too soon.

The Bombers evolved into a pool of well-coached and motivated youths who aspired to play football for the East Paterson Crusaders.

As the decades went on, unfortunately, with the aggressive recruiting of private schools, the East Paterson/ Elmwood Park Memorial High school football team lost out on many great athletes from the Bombers program.

In 1972, volunteers and donations had built the existing “Bomber Hut” located on the Boulevard. The “Hut” got its name from when the Bombers had to store all their equipment at Scotty Beckett’s home located at Boro Field where the Recreation Center is located. It was the original “Hut”.

If you grew up in East Paterson/Elmwood Park, being a Bomber has a special kind of meaning. It did not matter whether you were a football player, cheerleader, parent, coach, or even just a fan, you know that there is nothing more Elmwood Park than the Bombers.


Notable Bombers

  • George Galler (1964 All State team East Paterson Memeorial High School)
  • Bob Thornton (Captain at Temple University in 1971 who went on to play in the NFL)
  • Rich Rosen (Played at Syracuse and drafted by Dallas Cowboys)
  • Bob Nagle (All State running back who went on to play football at Penn State)
  • Tony Zappala (A four year starting defensive end for the University of Notre Dame)
  • Tim Brock (All State player who went on to play for Duke)
  • Gary Nova (Starting QB for Rutgers University who went on to play in the NFL)