NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - In his first start as quarterback for the 5-1 New Providence Pioneers, Jack Harvey threw for 140 yards and rushed for 131, in a 44-27 romp over Bound Brook. Harvey, subbing in for senior Michael Marchesano who is out for the season after suffering a knee-injury in last week's loss to Bernards, completed a pass to CJ Kliesch in the second half for 82 yards and also hooked up with Michael Felezzola on a 49-yard touchdown reception, to seal the victory for the Pioneers, 44-27.
Also at the game, the prestigious ShopRite Cup was awarded to the New Providence athletic program for the second year in a row.
It is an award for all of the teams. New Providence has claimed the Group 1 trophy with 38 overall points and earned nine extra points for not having any disqualifications in the fall, winter, and spring seasons.
The Cup was established in 2003 to recognize the best athletic programs in each of the six group classifications in which sports competition is currently held. Prior to the Cup, high schools had been acknowledged by the NJSIAA for championship performance in individual sports, but the ShopRite Cup is the first award in the state’s history that honors a school’s entire sports program using performance-based criteria.
To earn this award, schools must accumulate points based on their performance in championship play in 32 individual sports sanctioned by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Fall, winter and spring sports are all included. Schools receive points for finishing first, second, third and fourth in group state championships.
“I’m very happy because as an athletic director that’s the highest honor we can achieve as an athletic program," said Athletic Director Rob Harmer.
Harmer worked in Union County for over a decade and has been at New Providence for three years. In his brief time at the school, the students have overwhelmed him with their professionalism on and off the field, he said.
“I knew the expectations here were very high in terms of athletics,” Harmer said. “They call this place the town of champions.”
Because of the small student body, the majority of the athletes compete in three sports year round and this builds camaraderie and trust, he said. Unlike large schools where teams may not get along, at New Providence soccer players cheer at football games and vice versa, he said.
The coaches and parents instill discipline, integrity and sportsmanship in all of the student athletes, Harmer said.
“Kids are very active in this community from a very young age,” he said.
In a school full of tradition, Harmer is proud to be part of it, he said. While he only asks the students to try their best on the field or court, the results make everything sweeter, he said. He predicts another successful year for Pioneer athletics where they will be competitive and hopefully win, as well.
“Honor, tradition and respect -- that’s what it means to be a Pioneer,” he said.