NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – “Pioneer Magic” is back.
The phrase that came to fame during New Providence’s 2010 come-from-behind victory over Hoboken in the opening round of the state playoffs was back in full force on Friday night, as the Pioneers scored 28 unanswered points to beat Bound Brook, 28-21, on Senior Night at Lieder Field.
Senior running backs Andy Urness and Vinny Pecca each scored in the final 4 minutes of regulation to cap New Providence’s once unlikely comeback and keep the Pioneers unbeaten at 6-0.
“We believed the entire time,” Urness said. “At no point in that game did I believe we were going to lose. At no point in that game did I think I was going to give up on my team.”
Trailing 20-14 with five minutes left in the game, Urness took the Pioneers on his back for a 45-yard run that set up his eventual 15-yard game-winning touchdown.
On Bound Brook’s ensuing possession, New Providence’s defense was masterful, backing the Crusaders up on each of their four plays, capped by a Colin Forbes sack on fourth down to give the ball back to the Pioneers on 13-yard line,
Seconds later, New Providence dropped the hammer again when Pecca scored his second touchdown of the game to put New Providence up, 28-20.
“Believe. You got to believe,” head coach Joe Carollo said. “These kids have heart. We talk about being a family. They’re as close a group as we’ve had in a while. We talk about every day is a blessing with them. It really is…If any group was capable of doing that, it is them.”
Friday’s victory was almost a midnight dream, as New Providence saw themselves down big midway through the second quarter. The Crusaders came out of the gate with a vengeance, as the receiver-trio of Tyson Amaker, Darius Brown and Bruno Davis proved to be too much for New Providence’s defensive backs.
However, after a slew of changes at halftime, including removing both starting cornerbacks for taller replacements, the Pioneer defense held Bound Brook scoreless in the second half.
“We made a couple of adjustments at halftime that we never made in the first half,” senior lineman Russell Davidson said, “But it was incredible. We all played together. We got our focus together.”
The victory moves New Providence within two wins of the team’s ultimate goal, a conference title. Standing in their way, the longtime thorn in their side Roselle Park on Friday, and undefeated Brearley to close the season on November 6.
Urness said coming back from a large deficit at this point in the year can only help the Pioneers in the future when tasked with playing tougher opponents.
“We have to learn how to play the close games once we get into the tougher games of the conference,” Urness said. “You have to learn how to play with adversity and over come it.”
Kickoff for Friday’s game at Roselle Park is scheduled for 7 p.m.