NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Although Bernards dominated offensive play in the first half, the Pioneers' relentless effort kept the game within reach --trailing by just four points going into the fourth quarter, 21-17. The Mountaineers drained the clock with two drives that combined 25-plays resulting in two fourth quarter touchdowns to propel Bernards to a 35-17 victory at Lieder Field Friday night.

The Pioneers fell to (0-4), while the Mountaineers improved to (3-2).

“I think our kids played fantastic,” New Providence head coach Mitch Goodstein said. “It was the best football game they played all season. They played hard, they never quit, they never gave up."

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Pioneers junior quarterback Jack Barletta was 7 of 23 with 70 passing yards, 54 rushing yards. Mountaineer quarterback Stephen Gribben was unofficially 8 of 16 for 164 yards passing. 

As the Pioneers trailed 7-0 towards the end of the first quarter, junior kicker Patrick Trezza put the first few points on the board for his team with a 37-yard field goal.

The home team didn’t score their first touchdown until the end of the second quarter. With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, sophomore running back Joseph D’Anna caught a pass from Barletta in the end zone.

Barletta then ran the ball into the end zone in the third quarter to score the second touchdown for New Providence. New Providence kicker Trezza added the extra point and converted both of his extra points in the game

“They played with a lot heart and a lot of character tonight,” Goodstein said. “I couldn’t ask for more. The score definitely doesn’t reflect how they played this evening.”

The Pioneers couldn’t manage to score again, but their opponent fit in another two touchdowns in the final quarter.

Although they have not yet won a game this season, Goodstein is optimistic on continued improvement.

“We have a lot of young kids on our team and I think they’re growing and they’re getting better,” he said. “They’re going to achieve great things in the future and especially in this season. They just keep getting better and better each week.”

NP scorecard: Jack Barletta combined for 70 yards passing; Michael Barletta received 2 passes and 30 yards; Joe D'Anna received 2 passes and 9 yards; Jack Gertie received 2 passes and  31 yards;  Rushing: Jack Barletta (11 - 54); Joe D'Anna (10 - 8); Jack Gertie (4 - 4).

The Pioneers will be back on the field when they host Roselle on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m.