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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Eight to be inducted into New Haven Gridiron Club Hall of Fame


Six former high school football standouts, a retired coach and an athletic director will be inducted into the New Haven Gridiron Club Hall of Fame on Sept. 19 at the Cascade Banquet Facility, Sherman Avenue, Hamden. Two longtime club members will also be honored.

Ex-players selected to represent their schools are Fred Balsamo, North Haven; John Brecevich, Notre Dame of West Haven; Burt Cohen, West Haven; Dick Pannella, Hamden; Ron Parisi, East Haven; and Latef Roberts, Wilbur Cross.  Also chosen were Tim Jennings, coach of the unbeaten 1985 Hillhouse team that topped the statewide Register poll, and Paul Mengold, athletic director at Amity Regional of Woodbridge for more than a quarter-century.

Pannellla (guard, 1957) and Roberts (receiver, 1991) were Register All-Staters; Brecevich (tackle, 1970) was All-District League and Balsamo (back, 1969) All-Housatonic. Cohen was the center for West Haven’s 1968 state poll champions, who scored 58.4 points per game and were ranked fifth nationally. Parisi led East Haven in scoring for three seasons (1963-65). Jennings lifted Hillhouse from a winless season in 1976 to a District title in 1981 and a 12-0 record and Class MM championship in 1985.

Chosen as members-at-large of the Hall of Fame were Nancy and Brent Nielsen, wife and son of the club’s executive director, Don Nielsen of Orange.  Nancy is the club’s longtime treasurer, while Brent has supplied photographic and logistical support.

 The dinner, on a Thursday night, will begin at 7 with a social hour at 6.  Tickets are $50 each and may be reserved by sending checks to New Haven Gridiron Club, PO Box 32, New Haven 06501, before Sept. 13.  For further information, contact Don Nielsen, (203) 795-5331. 


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