UNION, NJ - For one last time, recent NPHS graduates Michael Barletta and Hudson Barth represented the Green and Gold in this past Thursday's Snapple Bowl played at Kean University, which saw Union County top Middlesex 27-14 in the 24th ever playing of the event.
Despite having not been part of a team since the end of their high school career's back in November, both Barletta and Barth were more than thrilled to be back in a high school uniform before they begin their collegiate careers.
"It was an amazing feeling to put the green and gold back on and to play one last time with great players from all around Union County," said Barletta. "It was a special experience for me and Hudson both."
"Wearing green and gold, (at least figuratively, as I sported a dark green PAL helmet) one more time was amazing," said Barth, on repping the hometown Pioneers. "Mike and I had a chance to prove what New Providence football was about one last time, and we established ourselves as some of the better players on the team. It was awesome to kind of put our high school team back on the map in a sense."
With this game in the books, both student-athletes are rejuvenated and ready to head to college to resume their careers, where they look to make a big impact with their new teams for years to come.
"I am one week out from reporting to camp and I can't wait to get to work with a team of top-tier athletes and an experienced college coaching staff," said Barth, who is attending William & Mary next fall. "I just hope I'm in good enough shape to survive camp. I'll be red-shirting this season so it's all about learning the defense and becoming a better player. Hopefully if I work hard enough, I'll be able to see some time next year.
"I'm very excited to continue my football career into college, all the preparation is paying off," said Barletta, who is off to Bentley University in the upcoming weeks. "The Snapple Bowl has felt like a great transition to get used to the competition and intensity I'm going to have to face at the higher level for years to come."
The win was Union County's second in as many years, which bucks the trend of how the match-up between the two counties have gone in the past. Prior to 2016, Middlesex took 9 of the past 10 games, but recently Union county is showing its prowess as a football power in the state.
This All-Star Game is more than just football as the game raises money for a great cause. This event also allows the players and cheerleaders to meet young men and women at the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities and the Children’s Specialized Hospital. Leading up to the game the players and cheerleaders were able to create special bonds with the young men and women by having conversations and doing different activities such as creating posters.
Be sure to follow both Barth and Barletta for the next four years as they continue to proudly represent New Providence on and off the football field.