ROSELLE PARK, NJ - After a winless start to the season throughout the first five games, the New Providence Varsity Football team was able to pick up its first victory on Friday night, a convincing 11-0 victory over Roselle Park in Roselle Park.
Junior quarterback Jackson Barletta tossed a 45-yard touchdown pass to Michael Barletta in the first quarter to set the tone early, and the defense was stout against the Panthers (2-5), as the Pioneers (1-5, 0-5 UCC Valley) allowed less than 100 rushing yards against a team that has had a strong ground attack throughout the season.
“Our defense was really strong throughout the game,” Barletta said. “They were able to shut Roselle’s run game down and if they did that I knew we’d have a shot. Our offense played well but I know we can continue to improve.”
Jackson Barletta’s touchdown strike to his cousin was followed by a two-point conversion scored by Joseph Nave on a pass from Tommy Janikowski, and junior Patrick Trezza would connect on a 20-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to give the Pioneers a two-score lead that they would hold on to for the non-conference win.
“Everyone has been stepping up lately,” Barletta said. “Leaders have been emerging, and guys like Jack Gertie have been coming up in big ways. All of our components are cooperating together.”
For the Pioneers, Barletta believes that this is a huge boost of confidence for a team that has been searching for missing pieces this year, as they were able to get all sides of the ball working well together in order to finally get into the win column.
“The win feels good; it’s a good relief,” he added. “It’s a confidence booster and getting a win is good for the team’s attitude.”
The rushing game was strong for New Providence on Friday, as they put together a combined 161 yards on ground, with sophomore running back Jack Gertie accounting for 112 of those yards. On defense, senior Doug Chacon lead the way with three sacks and nine total tackles. Trezza and Chris Reynolds each had one one interception apiece, and senior Hudson Barth recovered a fumble.
New Providence will look to build on their recent victory and momentum, as according to Barletta, the team has been “coming together.”
“Our chemistry is much better than at the beginning of the year,” he said. “We have been putting up more points lately, which is something we couldn't do earlier. It’s all because we work so hard in practice, and we continue to inspire each other to win the next game, and we push each other and it paid off.”
The Pioneers will look to build a winning streak this coming Friday when they travel to Kenilworth to face Brearley. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.