NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ — The New Providence football team operated with such efficiency Friday night that the Pioneers' offensive unit made what amounted to a cameo appearance in the first half.
New Providence (3-0) snapped the ball exactly four times in the first quarter, and scored three touchdowns on those four plays from scrimmage. The Pioneers ran just 14 offensive plays the entire half, but went into halftime with a 29-point lead nonetheless en route to a 48-12 victory over Dunellen on Senior Night.
After a Dunellen punt, New Providence took over near midfield for its first possession of the game. Sean Michaels took a toss around right end 26 yards to the Dunellen 25 on the first play. On the next play, halfback Charlie Barth took Dean Licari's handoff, sought a hole in the center of the Pioneer line, was denied there, and bounced the play outside and ran down the left sideline for a touchdown with 7:34 left in the first quarter. Tim Walsh ran for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Dunellen went three-and-out on its next possession, which featured a nifty stop behind the line of scrimmage by New Providence junior defensive lineman Owen Forbes, and, after a punt, the Pioneers again began possession with the ball at their own 49-yard line. Quarterback Dean Licari dropped back and lofted a first-down pass to Jake Wied down the left sideline for a 51-yard TD reception with 4:22 left. Brandon Mora's extra point made it 15-0.
Dunellen eschwed the punt on fourth down of its next series, which gave New Providence glorious field position at the Destroyers' 26-yard line. Licari found a wide open Wied for a 26-yard TD pass along the right hashmarks on the very next play for a 22-0 lead with 1:44 left in the first quarter.
After Dunellen scored on a 38-yard TD run to end a nine-play drive, New Providence again achieved chunk plays to score, with Barth going 21 yards, Michaels 16 yards and, after a five-yard Pioneer penalty, Licari 32 yards on a keeper around right end with 6:24 left in the half to extend the New Providence lead to 28-6.
A 51-yard run by Barth on fourth down out of a fake punt formation set up New Providence's final TD of the half, a 9-yard run by Licari just as time expired in the half. The Pioneers led, 35-6, at intermission. Barth had 102 yards on just four carries in the half.
Second-half touchdowns by Ethan Marcantuone and Dan McKnight put the capper on a rainy but exuberant Senior Night.
Before the game, these seniors and their families took part in ceremonies: Jake Wied, Ethan Marcantuone, Jack Gullo, Ryan Glatz, Gavin Duffy, Peter Grant, Sean Michaels, Charlie Palmer, Tim Walsh and Rohit Dasari.