Providence's season comes to an end with defeat to Evansville Mater Dei

Providence's season comes to an end with defeat to Evansville Mater Dei

Football

Providence's season comes to an end with defeat to Evansville Mater Dei

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Providence was less than two minutes away from taking a seven-point deficit into halftime against Evansville Mater Dei, a top-10 team in Class 2A, Friday night.

Several miscues, though, allowed a Mater Dei score and a recovered onside kick, leading to another score to put the Pioneers behind even more so in a matter of seconds. In the end, the 21-point halftime deficit was too much to overcome, and the Pioneers fell at home, 42-7, to Mater Dei in the second round of the Sectional 40 playoffs.

“They’re a very good team,” Providence coach Larry Denison said of Mater Dei. “We knew coming in it would take our best effort and unfortunately we didn’t have that tonight. 

“We thought we were going to have it. Right before the half they scored, and an onside kick that we misplayed — they ended up getting and scoring again. It could have easily been 14-7 or 21-7 but being 28-7 put us in a big hole. It was too much for us to overcome in the second half.”

Senior quarterback Sam Conrad scored the only touchdown for the Pioneers in the second quarter, taking a read option 19 yards in for a score.

“He read it well,” Denison said of the play. “They went with Kaden (Williams) on the fake and he pulled it and kept it up the middle.”

For a team that went 6-5 overall, Providence’s season appeared done and dusted after losing its first three games. But a change at quarterback brought a spark to the offense and helped the Pioneers win six games out of their next seven.

Coming into the Mater Dei game, Conrad was 6-of-17 on the season for 289 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions, and he gained 90 yards on the ground. But in addition to his impact under center, Williams consistently helped the team move the chains and get into the end zone. Williams rushed for 1,367 yards on 134 carries with 17 touchdowns through nine games, and had more than 1,500 yards in all-purpose yards including his kick returning and punt returning.

Williams, along with the team’s young defense, has Denison excited for what the 2017 season may bring for Providence.

“We’ve got a lot coming back defensively,” Denison said. “We’ve had a lot of sophomores playing this year, the good thing is they’ll be juniors, they’ll get a little bigger and get stronger. There were good seniors that will be tough to replace, but we’ve got a lot of kids coming back.”

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