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  • Jon Hart

Crusader Stadium – Bergen Catholic Crusaders


Photos by Jon Hart, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43

Crusader Stadium

1040 Oradell Ave.

Oradell, NJ 07649



Year Opened: 1998

Capacity: 2,000

 

Home of the Crusader Crazies


Texas A & M has the 12th Man, Duke has the Cameron Crazies, and the Bergen Catholic, BC for short, the legendary New Jersey high school, has the Crusader Crazies. They arrive hours before the game, paint their bodies and enthusiastically cheer on their brethren. As far as student body cheering sections, they’re one of the best.


Often, the Crusader Crazies have something to celebrate. Located in the shadow of New York City, BC is a perennial powerhouse, winning the state championship in 2017. Not surprisingly, every season, Bergen’s roster has a slew of D1 talent and even some future professionals, notably, former Houston Texan Brian Cushing.

Crusader Stadium is an intimate arena, encircled by magnificent, tall trees. The capacity is 2,000 and usually has close to capacity crowds for each home game. In short, it’s a taste of Friday Night Lights – except the pizza and bagels are way better. Lastly, tickets are $5.


Food & Beverage 4

Burgers and chicken kabob are cooked on an outdoor grill by the friendly BC staff. Nachos, as well as drinks (Gatorade and water) are also on the menu. Everything is very reasonable ($5 for burgers) and a notch above what you’d find at a typical professional venue. For dining outside the venue, check out the Neighborhood section.


Atmosphere 5

The Crazies are very passionate, as are most of the fans in attendance. However, BC is a victim of its own success. If you come late, especially for an important game, don’t expect a general admission bleacher seat.


For big games, BC brings in extra bleachers. Sometimes, it’s still not enough. However, there’s plenty of standing room, which can go two or three deep. While exact attendance figures are hard to come by, it’s not unusual for BC to draw 7,000 plus fans. As far as restrooms, BC utilizes Porta Potties. Recently, BC announced plans for a stadium renovation, so help is on the way.


Neighborhood 4

It’s suburban with a slice of rural. Deer sightings are not uncommon. BC plays in the middle of a quiet, residential neighborhood. The Oradell train station, and Oradell’s cuisine offerings are just over a mile away, within walking distance. Schreibers Delicatessen, offers classic deli offerings. For something a bit more upscale, fancy-casual Andiamo Restaurant, in nearby Haworth, is an amazing Italian restaurant.


Fans 5

When the Crusader Crazies are done tailgating, they march together through the woods and then the quiet, residential streets of Oradell. The Crazies are passionate, fun and not mean-spirited. And the same can be said for the non-Crazie, clothed BC fans. Check out the Crusader Crazies in action here:



Access 4

A parking lot where the Crazies tailgate is a short walk away. You can also shoot for a space on the street. BC is accessible via public transportation, either by bus or train. It’s a 45-minute train from Penn Station and everything NYC offers.


Return on Investment 5

You can’t beat $5 tickets for an afternoon of top notch high school football and spirit. The Crusader Crazies alone are worth this fee.


Extras 5

The Cameron Crazies stand for the entire game and keep the chants and cheers coming. There’s no band, but BC pipes in the AC/DC and other standards. The cheerleaders bring it. Don’t expect to be bored.


Final Thoughts

In this overpriced professional sports universe, Crusader Stadium is a refreshing taste of Americana. Norman Rockwell would feel right at home in Oradell. The football is elite for a very modest price. The atmosphere is equal intense and cozy. And the Crusader Crazies are some of the best football fans anywhere. North Jersey’s Bergen Catholic offers a Friday Nights Lights experience – though it’s often on Saturday afternoon.


Jon Hart is @ManversusBall

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