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WP Times article on the Grid Iron Dinner

Posted Thursday, October 23, 2008 by wptimes.com
The 2008 Stepinac Grid Iron Hall of Fame inductees, from left: William Riverso, accepting for his late brother Joseph Riverso; Craig Miller; Ed Chomicki; Frank Boccanfusa; and Tyler Nugent; Thomas “Skip” Morton (far right) was presented the Father Pete Gelsomino Spirit Award. Inductees not pictured: Dick Broderick, Paul Hefti, and Steve Buchanan.
Photo credit: Albert Coqueran
Riverso A Grid Iron Great
Stepinac Honors Sept. 11 Victim, Alumnus
Published: September 18, 2008

It was a somber but comfortable evening at the Knights of Columbus on Broadway on Thursday, Sept. 11 as Archbishop Stepinac High School held the Grid Iron Awards to induct members into their 2008 Football Hall of Fame.

It was no coincidence the prestigious Crusaders Football Awards were held on the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as Stepinac lost one of their own that tragic day. Joseph R. Riverso grew up in White Plains and died at the young age of 34, in the World Trade Center attacks, while working as a bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald.

Riverso was the captain of the 1985 Crusaders Division Championship team and was awarded All-League the same year. Riverso was also an assistant coach for the Crusaders football team for 16 years.

On the seventh anniversary of the attacks, Stepinac honored Riverso’s football legacy by inducting him posthumously into the Grid Iron Hall of Fame. “It is a difficult time for us in the sense that the loss we feel for our brother has not diminished,” said Riverso’s brother William in accepting the award for his brother. “Yet we see tonight as a celebration of Joe’s life and his love of football and coaching.”

The other members of the 2008 Grid Iron Club included: Dick Broderick and Paul Hefti (’53), Steve Buchanan (’70), Ed Chomicki (’77), Frank Boccanfuso (’81), Craig Miller (’81) and Tyler Nugent (2002). Thomas “Skip” Morton, the former Crusaders’ freshman team coach and longtime Catholic High School Football League official, was presented the Father Pete Gelsomino Spirit Award.

Crusaders Head Coach Mike O’Donnell inducted his former assistant coach and friend Joseph Riverso into the Grid Iron Hall of Fame, while remembering the sad day of his passing. “We called school off that day. The next day we brought the team in and had to tell them that Joe had died. I was not sure what we were going to do or how we were going to move on from that point,” sighed O’Donnell.


Iona Prep Head Coach Vic Quirolo (left) and Stepinac Head Coach Mike O’Donnell (far right) congratulate Joe Riverso Memorial Game MVPs Chris Alfano and Maurice Easterling.

Photo credit: Albert Coqueran
The Riverso family, through the Joseph R. Riverso Memorial Foundation, grants scholarships each year to graduating Stepinac seniors. Tyler Nugent, a Grid Iron inductee this year, was a Joseph Riverso Foundation scholarship recipient in 2002.


Nugent was a Con Ed Award Scholar who played for Riverso and went on to play football at the College of Holy Cross. “I am truly honored to be inducted into the Grid Iron Hall of Fame with Joe,” said Nugent.

The foundation also contributed to constructing the lights on Paul J. Marbach Memorial Field at Stepinac, where the Joe Riverso Memorial Game is played each year.

Besides his duties coaching at Stepinac and working at Cantor Fitzgerald, Joe Riverso was a volunteer baseball coach for his daughter Danielle’s Harrison Little League team. He was also a staff member of Bob Hyland’s Sports Page Pub for 16 years.

“He began working with us when he was 17 years old, and he was working with us right up to Sept. 10, 2001,” recalled Sports Page proprietor and former NFL player Bob Hyland. “What really hurt was I saw him the day before, while he was working Monday Night Football at the pub. To think that was the last time we were going see him is still beyond belief,” Hyland said.

Riverso’s number 70 jersey is retired at Stepinac, and the Crusaders football players wear his number on their helmets during the season. “We are honored and grateful that the Stepinac community continues to remember our brother and keep his spirit alive,” expressed Joe’s brother William.

The Joe Riverso
Memorial Night Game

The Eighth Annual Joe Riverso Memorial Night Game pitted Stepinac against rival Iona Prep in a CHSFL-AAA game. Stepinac has stepped up in competition this year, graduating from 1-AA to AAA in the CHSFL.

Running Back Maurice Easterling gave the Crusaders some hope when he dashed 81 yards for a touchdown to begin the second quarter and tied the game 14-14. However, the duo of Iona quarterback Tyrae Woodson-Samuels and wide receiver Chris Alfano proved too much for Stepinac. The Gaels prevailed, 35-20, as Woodson-Samuels completed 13 of 20 passes for 325 yards and four touchdowns. Alfano caught two of Woodson-Samuels touchdown passes in the first quarter and totaled seven catches for 180 yards in the game.


William and Ralph Riverso (seated front left and right) presented the White Plains Bernies with a Certificate of Appreciation for the team’s kind remembrance of their late brother Joseph Riverso, who began his football career with the Bernies in the 1970s.

Photo credit: Albert Coqueran

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