Back in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs last season, Providence traveled approximately 560 miles round trip to crush Quincy.
On Saturday, the Celtics had the pleasure of taking on Quincy in New Lenox in a first-round 7A matchup.
The results, however, were pretty much the same.
Providence scored on its first five possessions of the game and cruised to a 45-8 win over Quincy at Bishop Kaffer Stadium.
“Our goal was to get out to a nice lead and take the wind out of their sails,” Providence coach Mark Coglianese said. “We didn’t want to give them any confidence.”
Providence (9-1) advances to the second round and a date with Catholic Blue foe St. Rita (7-3) in Chicago. The Celtics and Mustangs squared off in Week 5 in Chicago with Providence recording a 41-27 victory.
“We won the game, but we’re going to have to play smarter next week,” Providence lineman Jake Rost said. “Can’t have any late hits on the quarterback or anything like that. Our secondary is playing much better; much more confident.”
It was a dominant display on both sides of the ball for the Celtics against Quincy, despite playing without receiver Miles Boykin (left arm injury) and running back Richie Warfield (right leg injury).
“We need to get healthy,” Coglianese said. “We’re going to need everybody.”
Providence quarterback Justin Hunniford more than picked up the slack, completing his first eight passes of the game and finishing the first half 20-of-27 for 259 yards and three touchdowns.
Hunniford connected with Nate Vejvoda (eight catches, 122 yards) on touchdown passes of eight and 14 yards and hooked up with Mike Markasovic on a six-yard score.
“They (Quincy) played a lot of soft zone coverage and left the middle of the field open,” said Hunnniford, who finished 24-of-33 for 310
yards. “Miles didn’t play but that didn’t stop us. We have tons of weapons.”
Running back Sean Diehl (10 carries, 57 yards) contributed touchdown runs of one and four yards in a first half that saw the Celtics take a 38-0
lead into intermission. He added a nine-yard run in the third quarter that made it 45-0.
The Celtics offensive line of Justin Balog, Mike Szot, Joe Zemen, Tom Younker and Nick Barker did an outstanding job of providing time for Hunniford to complete passes to seven different receivers.
On the flip side, the Providence defense resembled a brick wall. All Quincy (5-5) could muster was 36 yards of offense in the opening half and didn’t advance the ball beyond its own 35-yard-line.
The Blue Devils didn’t register a first down until 4:17 remained in the third quarter and most of the Celtics starters were on the bench.
Providence linemen Rost, Tyler Schiemann, Luis Vasquez and David Charnot keyed the defense’s performance.
Kicker P.J. Kowalkowski converted all six of his point-after kicks and added a 30-yard field goal.
“We pretty much stopped them every play,” said Rost of the Celtics first-half performance. “We shut them down early. It was fun.”