After its last-second loss to Loyola and before a Catholic League Blue showdown against Brother Rice, Providence had a chance to rebound from the defeat and prepare for the game for first place.
The Celtics took advantage of the opportunity.
Providence scored 28 points in the second quarter — three touchdown passes and a 15-yard keeper by quarterback Justin Hunniford — and rolled to a 56-13 crossover victory over visiting Bishop McNamara on Friday night.
Hunniford finished 17-of-26 for 266 yards and five touchdown passes before he yielded to junior Stephen Simowitz late in the third quarter. Hunniford, a 5-10 senior, has 24 TD passes this season.
“I tried to put the game last week in the past as soon as it happened,’’ Hunniford said. “The next day we watched film on it, but after that I just put it in the back of my mind.
“I came out this week with a totally different attitude. I knew I had to be more poised, more calm, stay in the pocket a little longer.’’
Miles Boykin had touchdown catches of 11, 9 and 35 yards, giving the 6-4 senior 16 TDs this season.
The defense for Providence (6-1) was led by the front line of Jake Rost, Luis Vasquez and Tyler Schiemann and linebackers Jimmy Sharkey, Brendan O’Hara, Emmet Trost and Dan Miller.
“It’s good to get back on track after the tough loss,’’ said Sharkey, the team’s leading tackler. “Everybody played pretty well. We’re still making small mistakes. We’ve got to fix those if we want to be a great team.’’
A 34-yard completion from Hunniford to Richie Warfield set up the game’s first TD, Boykin’s 11-yard slant with 7:49 left in the first quarter.
Hunniford’s scoring run on the opening play of the second quarter was followed less than a minute later by the first of Jack Pell’s two interceptions. That set up Boykin’s 9-yard catch in the corner of the end zone, giving the Celtics a 21-0 lead.
The Providence defense held again on the next possession. Boykin broke a tackle on the sideline for a 35-yard TD that put the Celtics ahead 28-0 with 8:23 to go in the first half.
Hunniford connected with Mike Beller from seven yards out to make it 35-7 with 3:36 left before halftime. Erik Carroll’s interception stopped Bishop McNamara’s next possession.
A 19-yard screen to Warfield and Miller’s recovery in the end zone of a bad punt snap put Providence ahead 49-7 in the third quarter.
“All in all, we took care of business,’’ Providence coach Mark Coglianese said. “We know it comes down to next week. It’s a big game for us.’’
Providence is 15-5 all-time against Bishop McNamara (4-3). The teams hadn’t met since 2007, a 40-19 Celtics’ victory.