KENILWORTH, NJ -- The Brearley football team dominated play up front and built a 28-point lead on its way to a 35-13 victory over New Providence Friday night to clinch the Union Division championship of the Mid-State 38 Conference.
Opponents of New Providence (6-2) have been confounded all season trying to find ways to stop sophomore halfback Charlie Barth. Brearley (8-1) did it, in part, by keeping the ball away from the Pioneers' offense for large chunks of the first half.
On each of the Bears' first two possessions, they kept the ball for 12 plays, scoring on both drives, on a 1-yard run by quarterback Dan Ramos and a 15-yard pass from Ramos to Peter Siragusa. Brearley, which got a consistently strong push up front to open holes for its runners, led, 14-0, with 7:34 left in the second quarter.
By that point, the New Providence offense had the ball for exactly six snaps. The home team's defense also was making things tough for the Pioneers' offense. Barth gained 10 yards on his first carry of the game, but it was one of only two carries the talented 10th-grader had in the first quarter.
New Providence was turned away on two trips inside the Brearley 10-yard line in the first half. The Pioneers were stopped on downs at the 8 with 4:23 left. Then, after a Ramos 77-yard run had extended the Brearley lead to 21-0 with 1:54 left, New Providence marched inside the Bears' 10-yard line after a long pass from quarterback Owen Kovacs to Sean Michaels to the 8. On the next play, an apparent TD pass from Kovacs to Tim Walsh was nullified by a procedure penalty, and time expired in the half before the Pioneers could get off another play.
Barth did score two touchdowns in the second half, going in from the 1 with 6:48 left in the third quarter, and then breaking a 32-yard TD run with 9:00 to go in the game to cut Brearley's lead to 28-13.
Kovacs finished with eight completions in 13 attempts for 149 yards. New Providence, which could have secured a Group 1 playoff berth with a victory, still has a chance to qualify, but must await the final calculations before finding out its status by the end of the weekend.