Last year New Providence found a way in overtime after visiting Brearley kept coming back.
On Friday night the two Union County Group 1 powers will clash again and for the second straight season the Mid-State 38 Conference’s Union Division championship will be on the line.
Perhaps Union County’s biggest game this weekend pits New Providence at Brearley Friday night at 7 at Ward Field in Kenilworth.
Regardless of the outcome both expect to be involved in the North, Group 1 playoffs that will follow next weekend.
Brearley is 7-1 and has won seven straight since falling at home to Cedar Grove 31-7 in its Sept. 6 season-opener. Along the way the Bears have managed a perfect 6-0 Union Division mark.
New Providence, which hosted Brearley the past two seasons, is 6-1 overall and has won four straight since falling at Bound Brook 24-6 on Sept. 27. The Pioneers are 5-1 in the Union Division along with Bound Brook.
If Brearley wins then the Bears win the division outright and perfect at 7-0. If New Providence wins and Bound Brook wins at Dayton Friday night then there will be tri-champions with Brearley, New Providence and Bound Brook all finishing 6-1 and having beaten each other. Brearley beat Bound Brook 22-19 at home on Oct. 11.
The only way New Providence can win the division outright is by beating Brearley and Dayton beats Bound Brook. That way New Providence and Brearley would both finish 6-1 and New Providence would win the division based on the tiebreaker of head-to-head.
Two years ago Brearley edged New Providence in a 29-28 thriller during Chet Parlavecchio, Jr’s first season at the helm of the Pioneers.
“Our kids are excited and it should be an awesome atmosphere,” Parlavecchio said. “The last two years the games literally came down to the wire.”
Last year New Providence prevailed 27-21 in overtime en route to winning the Union Division title outright at 6-0. The Pioneers finished 8-2.
“We expect something similar to the last two games we’ve had against them,” Brearley head coach Scott Miller said. “You have two solid teams here and the one that makes the least amount of mistakes should come out on top.”
After a 5-0 start last year, Brearley fell just short of qualifying for the North 2, Group 1 playoffs and came in at 6-3.
Miller on what has to be done in order for his Bears to have the best chance of coming out on top Friday night: “we have to eliminate their big-play offense and take care of the ball ourselves, short and sweet.”
Sophomore running back Charlie Barth and senior quarterback Owen Kovacs scored two touchdowns each in New Providence’s 26-7 home win last Friday night over Group 2 Johnson. The week before against visiting Belvidere Barth rushed for 301 yards and four touchdowns and Kovacs for 72 and two in a 42-28 Union Division triumph.
“The quarterback (Kovacs) and the running back (Barth) are two very good athletes,” Miller said. “They make big plays with their legs. We have to find a way to keep them contained.”
Junior quarterback Dan Ramos rushed for three scores to help lead the Bears to a 34-6 win at Dunellen in last Friday night’s Union County vs. Middlesex County crossover. Running backs Quinn Lonergan and Derek Graichen also scored.
Junior middle linebacker Michael Dotro is a difference maker on defense.
“It should be another tremendous game,” Parlavecchio said. “Brearley is well-coached, will execute and usually does not hurt itself. We will need our best effort to win this game.”
New Providence is averaging 35 points in its four-game winning streak since being held to just one score against Bound Brook.
“Sometimes a loss at the right time can be a good thing for a team, although I didn’t want to believe it at the time,” Parlavecchio said. “We, obviously, graduated a lot of guys from last year and players stepping in sometimes feel that they can just put the jersey on and we will win.
“We were humbled against a team in our conference. However, we refocused and got back to what won us the division last year and that was being hungry. We got back to the foundations of what the program has been built on and since then have played our best football.”
Brearley is averaging 32 points over the course of its seven-game winning streak since Cedar Grove held the Bears to just one touchdown. Defensively, Brearley has given up just 6.5 points per contest and the only game it gave up more than one score was against Bound Brook.
“We’ve done a really good job on defense of not letting up the big play,” Miller said. “We’ve been making teams have to drive the length of the field.
“Offensively we’ve been getting a nice balance between running the ball with more than one player and we’ve been throwing it better the last couple of weeks.”
This is Brearley’s best run since its 2015 team was 11-0 before falling to Hoboken in that season’s North 2, Group 1 final at Kean University. This will be Brearley’s first year in the playoffs since 2016 when the Bears lost at Hoboken in the N2G1 first round.
“I felt coming into the season that the young guys who played last year, if they grew, could carry us,” Miller said. “So far the kids have done a tremendous job. I give them credit.”
2019 MID-STATE 38 CONFERENCE
DELAWARE: Phillipsburg (5-0)
WATCHUNG: Union (5-0)
VALLEY: Hillside (4-0)
RARITAN: Cranford (3-1), Montgomery (3-1), North Hunterdon (3-1)
Cranford beat Montgomery, Montgomery beat North Hunterdon
and North Hunterdon beat Cranford.
MOUNTAIN: Rahway (5-1), Summit (5-1), Somerville (5-1)
Rahway beat Summit, Summit beat Somerville
and Somerville beat Rahway.
UNION: To be determined this weekend.
Leaders: Brearley (6-0), Bound Brook (5-1), New Providence (5-1)
Brearley has beaten Bound Brook and Bound Brook has beaten
New Providence so far.
NEW PROVIDENCE PIONEERS (6-1)
(H) New Providence 30, Dayton 14
(H) New Providence 41, Roselle Park 7
(A) Bound Brook 24, New Providence 6
(A) New Providence 47, Manville 21
(A) New Providence 26, South Hunterdon 6
(H) New Providence 42, Belvidere 28
(H) New Providence 26, Johnson 7
Nov. 1 at Brearley, 7 p.m.
Nov. 28 at Gov. Livingston, 10:30 a.m.
Head coach: Chet Parlavecchio, Jr.
third season, 15-12 (.556)
Section: North, Group 1
Conference: Mid-State 38
Division: Union, 5-1
Points for: 218
Points against: 107
BREARLEY BEARS (7-1)
(H) Cedar Grove 31, Brearley 7
(A) Brearley 20, Belvidere 6
(A) Brearley 14, Dayton 2
(H) Brearley 46, Manville 0
(A) Brearley 50, Roselle Park 6
(H) Brearley 22, Bound Brook 19
(H) Brearley 41, South Hunterdon 7
(A) Brearley 34, Dunellen 6
Nov. 1 New Providence, 7 p.m.
Head coach: Scott Miller,
18th season, 124-60-1 (.674)
Section: North, Group 1
Conference: Mid-State 38
Division: Union, 6-0
Points for: 234
Points against: 77
NEW PROVIDENCE VS. BREARLEY THIS DECADE:
2018: New Providence 27, Brearley 21 (OT) – at New Providence
2017: Brearley 29, New Providence 28 – at New Providence
2016: Brearley 27, New Providence 13 – at Brearley
2015: Brearley 27, New Providence 19 – at Brearley
2014: New Providence 31, Brearley 8 – at New Providence
2013: New Providence 34, Brearley 14 – at New Providence
2012: New Providence 49, Brearley 14 – at Brearley
2011: New Providence 49, Brearley 7 – at New Providence
2010: New Providence 34, Brearley 7 – at Brearley
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE:
Friday, Nov. 1 (8 games)
Sayreville at Union, 7 p.m.
Elizabeth at Hunterdon Central, 7 p.m.
Plainfield at J.P. Stevens, 7 p.m.
Ridge at Linden, 7 p.m.
Dunellen at Johnson, 7 p.m.
New Providence at Brearley, 7 p.m.
Bound Brook at Dayton, 7 p.m.
Roselle Park at Belvidere, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 2 (6 games)
Highland Park at Roselle, 1 p.m.
North Brunswick at Westfield, 2 p.m.
Colonia at Scotch Plains, 2 p.m.
Delaware Valley at Gov. Livingston, 2 p.m.
Rahway at St. Joseph’s, Metuchen, 2:30 p.m.
Cranford at Summit, 2:30 p.m.
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS:
Friday, Oct. 25 (9 games)
Union 51, Bridgewater-Raritan 35
Piscataway 22, Elizabeth 7
Westfield 20, Phillipsburg 14 (OT)
North Hunterdon 34, Cranford 21
Rahway forfeit over Warren Hills
Summit 52, Voorhees 8
Somerville 63, Gov. Livingston 8
New Providence 26, Johnson 7
Brearley 34, Dunellen 6
Saturday, Oct. 26 (6 games)
St. Joseph’s, Metuchen 21, Linden 14
Scotch Plains 21, Plainfield 20
Hillside 53, Bound Brook 0
Roselle 36, Spotswood 27
South River 42, Roselle Park 27
Dayton 47, Highland Park 12
THIS WEEK’S PICKS (14):
Union over Sayreville
Hunterdon Central over Elizabeth
Plainfield over J.P. Stevens
Ridge over Linden
Johnson over Dunellen
Brearley over New Providence
Bound Brook over Dayton
Belvidere over Roselle Park
Westfield over North Brunswick
Summit over Cranford
Colonia over Scotch Plains
St. Joseph’s, Metuchen over Rahway
Delaware Valley over Gov. Livingston
Roselle over Highland Park
Best bet: Roselle
Upset special: Westfield
Last week: 10-5
This year: 70-28 (.714)
Best bets: 7-1
Upset specials: 2-6
JR’S UNION COUNTY
9-New Providence (6-1)
10-Scotch Plains (4-4)
Roselle Park (1-6)
Gov. Livingston (0-7)