The Governor Livingston High School football team opened up a 12-0 lead at halftime on Thanksgiving, and looked poised to break its seven-game losing streak to neighborhood rival New Providence on the holiday. It just wasn’t meant to be, though.
The Pioneers scored 15 big points in the fourth quarter, including C.J. Kleisch’s 26 go-ahead scamper with 2:50 to play as New Providence came from behind for a 22-18 victory at Frey Field.
The Pioneers (8-3) extended their lead in the all-time holiday series to 26-3-2.
“It was a good play call,” Kleisch said, “and I saw an opening and turned it up field.
“We got a message in the locker room at halftime,” added Kleisch, who finished with a team-high 88 yards on 13 carries. “We turned it on.”
Pioneers’ Jeff Doran picked off Governor Livingston quarterback Pat Mahoney with 5:24 left to set up the winning score.
Prior to that, New Providence signal-caller Jack Harvey engineered a methodical seven-play drive in 3:13 that resulted in a five-yard scoring run by himself.
“We had the mentality that we to win this game for everyone in out town,” Harvery said. “Something just took us over in the second half and we played our hearts out on the field.”
After New Providence punted to open up the final quarter, it appeared that the Highlanders (4-6) might have put the game away. Tailback Ryan Jennings took the first play of a drive and went off right tackle 77 yards for a score to give the hosts an 18-7 lead with 9:24 to play.
But the Pioneers never gave up.
“I think the leadership of this team stepped up after halftime,” New Providence coach Joe Corallo said. “We understand the meaning of this game and what we do on Thanksgiving.
“They rallied around each other and picked each other up. It was about being a team and coming together.”
Jennings had scoring rushes of two and three yards in the first half staking Governor Livingston to the lead.
All told, New Providence ran for exactly 300 yards on 62 attempts.
Harvey finished with 71 yards on 17 carries and Ibn Nash added 71 yards and the team’s first score on 20 carries.
GL – Ryan Jennings 2 run (kick failed)
GL – Ryan Jennings 3 run (kick failed)
NP – Ibn Nash 5 run (David Gelormini kick)
GL – Ryan Jennings 77 run (kick failed)
NP – Jack Harvey 5 run (Jack Harvey run)
NP – CJ Kliesch 26 run (David Gelormini kick)