At last Friday night’s North 2, Group 2 championship game, Bernards public address announcer Phil Nardone was all bundled up, ready for the cold weather up in the Somerset Hills. He wore a quarter-zip dark grey fleece under his jacket with an embroidered logo on the chest that said “Bernards State Champs” with the years 1969 and 1970 in white on top of a red football.
That was the pre-playoff era. The playoffs started in 1974, with just two teams – if qualified – in each section. It eventually expanded to four. It took 23 years for the Mounties to make their first finals, and another 19 for them to get to a second. Both times they lost; the first in dramatic fashion at Olcott Field to Shore Regional, the second by blowout at Kean University to Manasquan.
Nardone has seen those games, and hundreds in between. He is, after all, the PA voice of Bernards football for the last 60 years.
That’s right: Bernards’ last home game, the North 2 Group 2 final last Friday night – with no more possible home games – put a wrap on his 60th season at the mic just a few days ago.
He’s seen wins. He’s seen losses. He’s seen so many losses the program almost folded up at one point. Then again, since Jon Simoneau came on board 16 seasons ago as head coach, he’s also probably seen so many wins its hard to keep track of them all. In the past five seasons alone, including this one, Bernards has 52 games and lost just ten, with half of those losses coming to Hillside (which they beat this year) and only three of the ten defeats coming at home.
And last Friday night, he finally got to see them win a playoff championship: the North 2, Group 2 title. They got in with an overtime win over Lakeland which the whole town – including Nardone – is still buzzing about.
So, we decided to talk to Phil Nardone about all that he’s seen, since he might as well be the football program historian.
And to think, when he was first hired, he only got half the job.
How’s that possible?
Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Bernards public address announcer Phil Nardone, who’s in his 60th season as the PA voice of the Mountaineers: