Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Father/son Ties Run through Ridgewood

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Father/son Ties Run through Ridgewood

Article excerpt

The deeper the Ridgewood baseball team went in the North 1, Group 4 state tournament, the deeper Chuck Johnson dug into the program record book.

The Ridgewood football coach was more than just an interested staffer trying to discover the last time the Maroons won a sectional title. He was also a proud alumni and parent with a personal stake in this bit of history.

That's because there is a wonderful link between the team that won the 1970 title and the team that pulled out a 2-0 win over Livingston in last week's sectional championship game. It turns out both of those Ridgewood teams featured a senior first baseman named Johnson.

"That's pretty cool," said Mike, the current Johnson to man that position.

"This was a neat little run for me," said Chuck Johnson, who played for the Maroons from 1967 to 1970. "Watching that game Friday, I was beating back tears."

And the Johnsons won't be the only father/son duo sharing the excitement this afternoon when the Maroons face Hillsborough in the Group 4 semifinal at William Paterson University. Ridgewood coach Kurt Hommen understands what the Johnsons are experiencing because he's getting to chase after this championship alongside his son and shortstop, Kurt, Jr.

Dreams of a run like this were a big reason why Hommen left a very successful Tenafly program three years ago after 19 years as baseball coach.

"Not many people have a chance to do this," said Hommen, who still coaches football in Tenafly. "Obviously, it's special to be with my son, but it's also exciting to be going through this with the kids who grew up around the neighborhood."

And that is all part of the father/son dynamic that runs through this tale.

Chuck Johnson and Hommen coached this group of players in summer ball from fourth through eighth grade. Johnson ran the spring version of the program before Hommen took over when the Tenafly high school season ended. …

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