Pickens' Perspective: Fern Tetreau sets the bar high

It is one thing to be surrounded by greatness, but it is quite another to be surrounded by a legend.

On Friday night, the folks at the Fairfield Warde football game were treated to Fairfield football royalty. Former Roger Ludlowe and Andrew Warde High School head football coach Fern Tetreau came out to be honored for the 50th anniversary Andrew Warde's undefeated season. The Crimson Eagles went 9-0 in 1959, finishing No. 2 in the state.

Tetreau started his coaching career at Ludlowe, but moved over to Warde in 1958. Making things worse for him was the fact that in Fern's first year coaching Andrew Warde, he was winless, at 0-9.

"In the first year, we didn't win a single game," Tetreau said. "Where can you go from there?"

The answer was the sky. A year after Warde's 9-0 year, the Crimson Eagles went 8-1 in 1960. Tetreau was 17-10 in his first three years at Warde, and nine of those losses came in his first year!

With both Ludlowe and Warde encountering coaching changes in the past two seasons, it conjures up the image of Tetreau's accomplishment. Ludlowe's Matt McCloskey enters his game tomorrow with a career record of 7-11 in two years and Duncan DellaVolpe has his Warde unit 4-3, which has already been deemed a successful campaign. Both of them have quite the acts to live up to should they strive to rival Tetreau.

Tetreau reminisced about his rule that prohibited swearing and emphasized team first. If a player swore in practice, he would be forced to run two laps after practice. Lord knows how many laps would be run this year alone if those rules were in effect for both schools.

In an age where sportsmanship is lacking and "win at all costs" is the mantra, it is nice to hear stories from a throwback like Tetreau. He's been married for 60 years now, his wedding anniversary is his birthday. He helped start the Pop Warner squad in town, and he and his family still advocate football as a way for kids to get involved.

"If the kid has the phyiscal attributes to play, they should be given the chance," Tetreau said. "I've always encouraged parents to let their children to play."

What is remarkable too is that even at 88-years old, he's still really sharp. He gets out to as many games Warde games as he can, and when I asked him whether or not he intends to be around for the 100-year anniversary of the team, he said:

"I sure plan to be."

Football picks

Last week was a miserable week for the town teams. It was not hard for me to go 2-0 picking Staples and St. Joseph. In fact, the four Fairfield schools that played last weekend lost their four games by a combined 164-24. Warde and Ludlowe combined to lose 87-18. This week should be different.

Warde (4-3) at Stamford (2-5), Stamford High School, tonight, 6 p.m.

The Mustangs should be able to win this game and keep their slim hopes of reaching the Class MM playoffs alive, but Warde shouldn't get cocky. Stamford is not a pushover. The Black Knights have an upset win over Trumbull, and one of the finest players in the league in Khairi Fortt. Warde should take over the game early if it wants to avoid a slugfest. I think the Mustangs will run with Tommy McNamara and Alex Delaney and win handily. Pick: Warde 27, Stamford 13.

Randolph (N.Y) (0-0) at Ludlowe (3-4), Taft Field, tomorrow, 3 p.m.

Ladies and gents, the single most bizarre game of the year! Here is what we know about Randolph High School. It is in New York, the football team is struggling to get kids to play for the team and this is its first game of the season. I have nothing to say, except Ludlowe should roll against a team that hasn't played a game all year. Pick: Ludlowe 41, Randolph 0.

Last week: 2-0; Year to date: 11-3.