Jack Harvey admitted he was nervous before making his first start at quarterback for New Providence on Saturday.
The 5-8, 140-pound sophomore overcame whatever jitters he might have experienced to deliver a double-triple — 140 yards passing and another 131 passing — to lead a devastating showing by the New Providence offense in a 44-27 triumph over Bound Brook.
Harvey, a converted running back pressed into service when senior Michael Marchesano suffered a season-ending knee injury in last week’s loss to Bernards, ran 19 times and scored on an 11-yard run to cap an 85-yard, 13-play march that opened the second half. He only completed two of five passes but the first went to CJ Kliesch for an 82-yard touchdown to start the scoring and the second went to Michael Felezzola for a 49-yard score after Bound Brook pulled to within 10 points at 30-20 with seven minutes to play.
“I was really nervous but my teammates helped me out to get all the courage I needed to be able to play today,” Harvey said. “When we came out in the second half and startrd to run the ball we drove downfield and showed how good our running game was.”
Harvey had plenty of help as New Providence (5-1) scored on seven of its nine possessions, the lone exceptions being back-to-back drives in the second quarter that were pre-empted by a pair of interceptions by Bound Brook’s Jarrod Gardner. The Pioneers ran 44 times for 340 yards, an average of nearly 7.8 yards a pop.
Kliesch, a junior, handled his first start admirably as well, rushing 12 times for 131 yards and averaging more than 16 yards for each of his 13 touches. In addition to his touchdown grab Felezzola returned an interception 20 yards to a touchdown a minute after Harvey’s scoring run, opening up 27-7 cushion, while Derek Singer added a pair of touchdowns runs.
“We think we have a very explosive offense and we have a lot of playmakers that can do a lot of things,” New Providence coach Joe Carrollo said. “My hats off to CJ Kliesch and Jack Harvey coming in the spots there. We keep finding people to step up and that’s a good thing.”
Bound Brook (4-2) compiled some pretty impressive numbers on offense as well, they just didn’t add up to a victory. Quarterback Jalen Wheeler completed 26 of 44 passes for 350 yards and had a pair of 100-yard receivers in Jack Welti (eight catches, 121 yards) and Isaiah Williams (6-112), who each caught a touchdown pass. Michael Johnson ran 16 times for 103 yards and the Crusaders’ other two scores.
“We couldn’t score in the first half when we needed to,” said Bound Brook coach Dom Longo, whose team crossed midfield but failed to score on three occasions before the break. “We scored 27 points and I was hoping that was enough to win the game.”