What a way to open the 2018 football season!

MIDDLESEX, NJ - Junior quarterback Owen Kovacs threw two touchdown passes to senior wide receiver Anthony Sidoli to highlight a 20-point second quarter and ran for a score in the fourth quarter to spark New Providence to a 27-19 road victory over Middlesex Thursday night in the season opener for both schools.

Trailing 6-0 after the first quarter, senior running back Joe D’Anna started the second quarter scoring with a 1-yard TD run to tie the game at 6-6 for New Providence (1-0).

Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Kovacs, who completed 7-of-14 passes for 150 yards and rushed six times for 26 yards, gave the Pioneers the lead for good with a 50-yard TD pass to Sidoli and followed with a 31-yarder to Sidoli later in the quarter to give New Providence a 20-13 halftime lead.

After Middlesex cut the lead to 20-19 at the end of the third quarter, Kovacs posted a 5-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to secure the win.

“Owen (Kovacs) is a tremendous competitor and very poised. He is always in control of the game and he ran the ball very well also,” said New Providence head coach Chet Parlavecchio, who began his second season at the helm after a 1-9 record a year ago. “He just gets better every day and has great command of his huddle. He made really big plays for us in the win and that is what you want from your QB.”

Sidoli had two receptions for 81 yards and D’Anna added two catches for 54 yards for the Pioneers, which had its lone victory on the road last year in a 27-0 triumph over Dayton in Springfield.

Senior running back Jack Gertie led the Pioneers rushing attack with 11 carries for 78 yards and senior running back Mario Fuentes added 11 carries for 53 yards.

“We played extremely hard and very tough. I was very impressed with how we dealt with adverse situations and competed very hard. It certainly was not a pretty win, but good teams find ways to win football games and that was what we did. Middlesex is a very well coached football team. It was a great first win and a very hard-nosed win,” said Parlavecchio. “This was a huge win for us in so many ways. Our team put in an incredible amount of work this off season in the weight room and this win was a testament to the weight room and what it has done for our program. A year ago we never would have been able to physically hold up, and beating the defending Central 1 State Champion has our team believing in each other and that we can accomplish some great things.”

New Providence ends its two-game road trip with a visit to Lambertville to face South Hunterdon on Friday, September 7 with first kickoff slated for 7 p.m. 

“South Hunterdon is a very tough football team and we need to be ready for another physical football game,” said Parlavecchio. “We need to clean up a lot of the mistakes that we made and focus on ourselves and improving this week.”

Editor's note: A Pioneer athlete will be selected each week as The Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week, sponsored by Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors located at 64 Main Street in Chatham.  Joe is a 25 year New Providence resident who is an active member of the New Providence community. Contact Joe anytime, whether it's to get started on helping you realize your real estate goals and dreams, or just to ask a question about the local market.  Joe can be reached at jeberle@weichert.com or call 908-868-4800