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New Providence star running back Charlie Barth (32) had 65-yard touchdown run on second play of the game but the Pioneers fell to Willingboro, 26-7, in Saturday's independent action at Lieder Field. In second photo, Willingboro's offense gets set to run play vs. Pioneers' 'D.' New Providence is guided by head coach Chet Parlavecchio, Jr. (Photos are by Gene Nann and JR Parachini)

New Providence Learns A Lot
Despite Falling To Willingboro

By JR Parachini

NEW PROVIDENCE – After Charlie Barth got New Providence once, as early as the second play of the game, Willingboro came up with a defense to prevent that from happening again.

The visiting Chimeras simply limited his carries by keeping New Providence’s offense on the sidelines.

To accomplish that goal, Willingboro continued to move the chains with a running game that continued to push its way forward.

As a result, New Providence was limited to just 11 plays in the first half.

Meanwhile, Willingboro kept running the ball and having success even though it did not result in points until the latter stages of the second quarter.
After trailing by one point at intermission, Willingboro did much of the same in the second half, this time using a bit more flash running the ball as the Chimeras were able to wear down the home team Pioneers physically.

“I think our conditioning got the better of us,” New Providence head coach Chet Parlavecchio, Jr. said, referring to several of his players down on the field cramping up.

Lifted by two short touchdown runs from senior running back Bryson Bright and two long ones from fellow senior back Mehki Gibson, Willingboro scored its three touchdowns in the second half on what turned out to be consecutive plays, the Chimeras came away with a convincing 26-7 triumph in Saturday afternoon’s battle of South, Group 2 schools contested at Lieder Field.

Willingboro, which opened with a 27-14 loss at Delran and then a 36-0 defeat by Cedar Creek in its home-opener, improved to 1-2. Willingboro won the South, Group 1 state championship in 2019, beating Penns Grove 50-14 at Rutgers to finish 12-1. The Chimeras then went 3-2 last year. this year they moved up to Group 2.

New Providence, which opened Friday, Sept. 10, with a 49-14 home win over Middlesex, fell to 1-1. The Pioneers went 8-1 last year and did not miss a game or practice. They went from North, Group 1 last year to South, Group 2 this season.

Parlavecchio said that Belvidere came to him and said it was “player safety” that Belvidere was concerned with and that was why the Warren County school opted not to host the Pioneers Thursday night. It was not a Covid issue.

On Willingboro football’s twitter account, the program thanked New Providence for Saturday’s matchup: “Just wanted to take moment to thank New Providence HS for hosting a game with us last minute. Class kids, coaches, fans, and administrators. We may need to make it a yearly thing. Appreciate it. Good luck the rest of the way Pioneers!

“It’s so important to play a program like that,” Parlavecchio said. “We learned a lot about ourselves today.”

Willingboro carried the ball 39 times for 367 yards and four touchdowns. New Providence was held to 58 yards on 23 attempts. The Pioneers were held to minus 29 yards on the second half.

Barth carried 12 times for 83 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown run on his second attempt, which was the second play of the game. If you take his touchdown away, he was held to 18 yards on 11 rushes.

“It all started with stopping him (Barth),” Willingboro head coach Steve Everette said. “Then we had to get our backs going.”

Going they did repeatedly.

Senior running back Nasir Abney (No. 15) carried 16 times for 123 yards.
Bright gained 53 yards on 11 attempts and his two scores.

Gibson led all rushers with 175 yards on just seven carries, which included his touchdown runs of 69 yards in the third quarter and 70 in the fourth.

Junior wide receiver Jayson Harris gained 31 yards and two carries.

“We have two big backs too, No. 15 and No. 5,” Everette said. “They’re our thunder and lightning. This was the best game our offensive line had, which enabled us to spread it around.”

Trailing 7-6 in the third quarter it appeared that Willingboro took the lead when Gibson returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown. However, it was called back for a block-in-the-back penalty on the Chimeras.

Willingboro reached New Providence territory on its ensuing drive only to see a combined sack by Pioneer defensive linemen Matt Werner-Perillo and Pat Vass of Chimeras quarterback Chris Schoemer for a 12-yard loss halt the march.

After a New Providence was held to a quick three-and-out, Willingboro struck to take the lead for good. Gibson broke through a hole and then ran down the left side for his 69-yard touchdown run that give the Chimeras the lead for good at 12-7. It was the second play of an 80-yard drive.

The next time Willingboro got the ball Bright scored on a four-yard run on the first play of the drive following a New Providence turnover.

After holding the Pioneers to another three-and-out, New Providence only had one first down in the second half and just three for the game, Gibson scored on a 70-yard run down the left side of the field, breaking an arm tackle near the end of the sprint. That also came on the first play of what would be Willingboro’s second-to-last possession.

“He’s a pretty special player,” Everette said of Gibson.

So, Willingboro’s three second-half scoring drives were two plays, one play, one play. Its first scoring drive in the second quarter was the complete opposite and came after the Chimeras recovered a fumble on a punt return New Providence could not cleanly handle. That march to the end zone was 52 yards in 13 plays and took more than seven minutes off the clock.

“They were just able to grind us down,” Parlavecchio said. “We were there with them into the third quarter. They just found ways to mix it up to make first downs.”

Gibson was not happy that his team ventured into Union County with an 0-2 record.

“We have many running backs who can create,” Gibson said. “Our defense also brought energy. We felt at 0-2 that we had something to prove. I didn’t feel that we were an 0-2 team.”

New Providence senior defensive lineman Anthony Kaspereen made two fine plays in the second quarter. The first was a solo sack of Schoemer for a 10-yard loss and the second was a big-time, straight up hit of Bright that resulted in a three-yard loss at the New Providence five.

“He’s an impressive player,” Parlavecchio said of Kaspereen.

Other fine defensive efforts turned in by Pioneer players included senior defensive back Jeff Nook making a touchdown-saving tackle of Gibson on a 25-yard run Gibson produced in the second quarter.

Barth brought down Abney with a solo tackle to limit Abney to a six-yard gain on a third quarter carry that propelled Abney further into New Providence territory.

“I feel we’re right there,” Parlavecchio said. “Willingboro has had a lot of success and plays really good teams like Cedar Creek and Delran. Now we have to continue to play the class of Group 2. “

WILLINGBORO (1-2)                                   00     06     08     12 - 26
NEW PROVIDENCE (1-1)                            07     00     00     00 - 07

NEW PROVIDENCE – Charlie Barth 65 run, Brandon Mora kick (NP 7-0)
2 plays, 67 yards, 1:05 used

WILLINGBORO – Bryson Bright 5 run, run failed (NP 7-6)
13 plays, 52 yards, 7:22 used
Willingboro capitalized on a turnover, a fumble recovery of a botched punt return.

WILLINGBORO – Mehki Gibson 69 run, Anaias Hughes pass from Chris Schoemer
(W 14-7) 2 plays, 80 yards, :48 used

WILLINGBORO – Bryson Bright 4 run, pass failed (W 20-7)
1 play, 4 yards, :10 used
Willingboro capitalized on a turnover, a fumble recovery.
WILLINGBORO – Mehki Gibson 70 run, kick failed (W 26-7)
1 play, 70 yards, :16 used   

Follow JR Parachini on Twitter @parachini_jr

D-lineman Anthony Kaspereen (52), who made two sparkling plays in the second quarter during Saturday's game vs. Willingboro, and RB Charlie Barth (32) are two of the standouts to watch for Chet Parlavecchio, Jr.'s Pioneers who are now 1-1. (Photos by Gene Nann and courtesy of Hudl)


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