Sports

New Providence Pounds Bound Brook, 46-7; Barletta Once Again Keys Pioneers’ Dominant Ground Game; Defense is Barely Tested by Crusaders

54883af32a99dbaebc50_joshphoto.jpg
54883af32a99dbaebc50_joshphoto.jpg

BOUND BROOK, NJ – New Providence’s first year head coach Art Cattano had the extremely simple task of replacing a New Jersey football coaching legend when he was tabbed to replace the irreplaceable Frank Bottone on the Pioneers’ sideline before this season. Bottone not only created the Pioneers’ football program in 1963 – its first year of varsity competition came two years later – but he built it into a well-run, well-respected regional football power. Last season, in his final game on the New Providence sideline, Bottone coached his beloved Pioneers to a state championship in what was his 334th and final victory. Yet the search for his replacement never left the locker room. Bottone handed over the reins to the program to Cattano, an assistant coach on his staff the past 32 years.

“Art was always my first choice,” Bottone told the Star-Ledger over the summer following Cattano’s hiring. “He’s a homegrown boy. He’s been with the whole program as a player and as a coach. He was the best choice.”

If one were to grade Cattano on his performance three games into the 2011 season, there would be little debate. The man who now doubles as the head coach of both the Pioneers’ football and basketball teams – he’s won 391 games and a state championship of his own on the hardwood – has passed the test of the first quarter of the season with flying colors. The Pioneers are 3-0 and are fresh off a dominant victory over the Bound Brook Crusaders Friday night at LaMonte Field, 46-7.

Sign Up for E-News

Right now, New Providence looks to be on the fast track back to New Meadowlands Stadium, thanks in large part to an absolutely punishing ground game. Led by senior running back Dave Barletta, the Pioneers are essentially running an updated version of the same Wing-T offense that Bottone ran for years. Yet it was Cattano who – as the team’s offensive coordinator during last season’s state championship run – tweaked the Wing-T and came up with the “Spinner” series of plays that have sort of turned the Wing-T into more of a zone read, triple option type of attack.

Barletta’s numbers in the running game are absolutely mind-boggling and it’s no surprise that the big, strong senior (6-5, 205) has already given a verbal commitment to play football at Fordham next season. So far through three games, Barletta has only carried the ball 29 times, yet he has amassed 341 yards rushing and four touchdowns. The means, each time Barletta carries the ball, he averages just under 12 yards per carry, an absolutely ridiculous number. He’s also averaging 113.6 yards per game, a tremendous number which is made all the more impressive considering he is carrying the ball less than 10 times per contest (9.6 carries per game) and rarely takes a snap off as he is one of, if not the best, linebacker on the team.

Against Bound Brook, Barletta put together a seven carry, 103-yard, two touchdown performance and played tremendous defense for the Pioneers. But perhaps his most impressive play of the night was a kickoff return that he initially botched. The conditions were wet and sloppy throughout the entire contest, though Bound Brook’s brand new FieldTurf surface did very well in the elements, and both teams had early issues hanging onto the ball. Neither team was able to pass much at all – the Pioneers completed only 2-of-11 passes and also threw an interception – and NP botched its first two extra point attempts because it couldn’t hold onto the wet football.

After the Crusaders’ lone highlight of the evening – and absolutely stellar touchdown run by Michael Johnson during which he bowled over two would-be tacklers and outran the entire Pioneers’ defense to the left corner of the endzone – Bound Brook kicked off. The kick was low and knuckled hard before hitting the ground about five yards in front of Barlettta, who was standing at about his own 20 yard line. Barletta was up so far because the Crusaders were penalized for excessive celebration after Johnson’s touchdown run which resulted in the kickoff being moved back 15 yards from the 40 to the 25. After the ball bounced off Barletta’s hands it rolled all the way into the New Providence endzone. Barletta chased the ball down, turned around and saw several Crusaders directly in front of him. Instead of trying to down the ball, Barletta came out of the endzone and turned what should have been a huge loss into a 40-plus yard return. His surprising speed and deft footwork for a big man have been great assets for both Barletta and his fellow offensive teammates this season.

Derek Singer kicked off the scoring for the Pioneers when he burst through the line and hit paydirt after a 13-yard scamper. Barletta’s first TD came in the form of a two-yard plunge just minutes later. Quarterback Mike Marchesano scored NP’s next two touchdowns, from one and seven yards out respectively. The Crusaders were down 26-0 before Johnson’s scoring jaunt and as far as points went, that was all Bound Brook would muster on the night.

Barletta opened the scoring in the second half with a 53-yard TD run that put the game well out of reach and signaled the end of the night for the Crusaders. Singer scored again from six yards out just a few minutes later and Chris Contrado finished the offensive explosion with a six-yard scamper. Cattano called off the dogs in the fourth quarter and his second and third string reserves finished off the clock in the fourth quarter, the only period in which New Providence didn’t score.

All told, t he Pioneers finished the night with 230 yards rushing on 37 carries, an average of 6.2 yards per carry. In all, nine different Pioneers carried the ball and four different players scored touchdowns with Barletta, Marchesano and Singer each scoring multiple touchdowns. It was a convincing performance by a unit that has continued to roll against its out-of-conference schedule.

Through one-quarter of the season, things look great for Cattano and crew, but the Pioneers’ new head man has been coaching long enough to know that you never look back to the game you just played, nor do you look ahead of the next game on your schedule. Luckily, New Providence is being guided by a man who has been mentored by one of the best high school football coaches this state has ever seen. If there is one thing the Pioneers’ players can count on it’s that their head coach will stay on-task, on-message and on-point.

That combination, along with a truly dominant ground game, will certainly go a long way in helping New Providence successfully complete the final three quarters of Art Cattano’s first-year football test.   

Right now, the grade’s an A+. As they say, there are only two ways to go from the top and at this point, the only “downhill” in NP’s game is the power running of Barletta and Co., right over, around and through the opponent’s front seven.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Providence

Enjoy a Lifetime of Discovery in Union County Parks

July 18, 2018

July is National Parks and Recreation Month, and Union County residents are invited to celebrate this year by exploring “undiscovered” programs and activities found throughout the nearly 6,200 acres of the Union County parks system.

“Union County was one of the very first counties in the United States to establish its own county-based park system for nature conservation and ...

Union County Honored for History Projects

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that two national achievement recognitions for history projects have been presented to the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, a division of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Union County is rich in history, and this Freeholder Board is committed to engaging the public with ...

Union County College Foundation’s 3rd “Close the Gap” Campaign Surpasses Goal

CRANFORD, NJ – With over 150 guests and volunteers in attendance, the Union County College Foundation surpassed their goal and raised nearly $55,000 at their 3rd Annual Close the Gap Campaign cocktail reception. Held on July 11, in the Richel Student Commons at the College’s Cranford campus, this campaign was developed by a small group of dedicated community volunteers to support the ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

TAPinto Spotlight on Business Features New Providence Dentistry

July 17, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - TAPinto "Summer Spotlight on Business" features local businesses and their owners who are important to our communities. Follow this column to receive a fresh perspective on small business owners and their unique needs while shining a spotlight on their stories.

This edition features New Providence Dentistry, operated by Dr. Beth Herko and her staff of ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_c64d737a46240c5e09c6_lean_technique_woman

Wed, July 18, 9:00 AM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Cardio Sculpt Express

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_99e9d213e1cffea2e530_yoga_meditation_image

Wed, July 18, 10:30 AM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Yoga for Everybody

Health & Wellness

Wed, July 18, 10:30 AM

Berkeley Heights Public Library, Berkeley Heights

Story Time & Craft with DIVA DELORES AND THE ...

Other

Carousel_image_9621ab8610aa8e73f65c_social-post-summer-camp-1080x1080

Wed, July 18, 1:30 PM

My Gym New Providence, New Providence

Summer Camp

Arts & Entertainment Education Health & Wellness Other Sports

Carousel_image_b91f21bd7ac6c164e408_wednesday_matinees_at_trailside

Wed, July 18, 1:30 PM

Trailside Nature & Science Center, MountainsidE

Trailside’s Annual Summer Wednesday Matinee ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_0b65677f5f95b0e69f8e_power_yoga

Wed, July 18, 5:45 PM

Providence Health & Fitness, New Providence

Power Core Yoga

Health & Wellness

And Over Here is the Dining Hall 2

My very first job in admissions was while I was still an undergraduate myself as a tour guide.  Very early on they indoctrinated us with some tricks of the trade.  It’s a dining hall, not a cafeteria.  A residence hall, not a dorm.  If you have to divulge some negative bit of information, sandwich it between two positives.  There were instructions for glossing over ...

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Beneficiary Forms - As Important as Your Will

As you plan for the future, don’t leave out one of the most overlooked must-do’s: naming the beneficiaries of your retirement assets. Updating your beneficiary forms ensures that the legacy you worked so hard to build will be distributed correctly. Don’t delay -- the designations on your beneficiary forms supersede those stated in your Will. 

Try answering the ...