Providence’s Justin Hunniford stays hot, leads upset of Mount Carmel

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Justin Hunniford and Miles Boykin had an amazing Week 2, breaking Providence football records for touchdown passes thrown and caught.

That was fun. But beating Mount Carmel 33-14 Friday in a Catholic Blue matchup in New Lenox is even more special.

“Oh, this was way better,” Hunniford said. “We came into this season with one goal and that was to win state. Winning the Blue is obviously the next, but you’ve got to get off to right start and beating Carmel is exactly the way.

“This is a way better feeling than breaking records, that’s for sure.”

Hunniford completed 17 of 23 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Two of them were caught by Boykin and the third by Richie Warfield, who also had a touchdown run for the Celtics (3-0, 1-0).

The game was essentially decided in a crazy first half — crazy good for Providence and crazy bad for Mount Carmel (1-2, 0-1).

The Caravan’s first possession ended when the punt went straight up in the air. Providence subsequently went 58 yards, 25 of them coming on face mask and roughing the quarterback calls.

The Celtics also helped themselves on a 19-yard run by Sean Diehl and a 9-yard touchdown toss from Hunniford to Boykin.

The ensuing kickoff was fumbled twice before Providence recovered at Caravan 18. Three plays later Eduardo Favela kicked a 30-yard field goal to make it 10-0.

Mount Carmel was able to move the ball to the Providence 21 on its next drive, but it ended in more frustration when Anthony Thompson’s fourth-down pass was dropped in the end zone.

Providence went up 17-0 with 9:11 left in the half after a 79-yard drive that was helped along by a personal foul penalty on Mount Carmel. Warfield did the scoring, catching a short pass from Hunniford, juking a defender and running the rest of the way for a 36-yard score.

What could have been a perfect first half went awry for Providence when, poised to score at the Mount Carmel 22, Hunniford tried a flip to the right side that was picked off in full stride at the 24 by Caravan defender Nick Wheeler. Nobody touched him on the long trek to the end zone, which ended with two seconds showing on the clock.

A fourth-quarter 16-yard run and conversion catch by Avery Safford gave Mount Carmel a breath of life, but the Caravan didn’t threaten again. Warfield’s 2-yard run with 2:41 left was the knockout punch.

“We did some of the things we wanted to do,” Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti said. “We possessed the ball, but we dropped a touchdown pass and dropped a kick. They have a very fine football team. A lot of ways they outplayed us.”

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