OSWEGO – The foundation of Oswego football has always been built on defense. Providence Catholic knows defense wins championships.
In a historic meeting between two highly respected programs Friday night, it was the Panthers’ defense that stood firm at Ken Pickerill Field, lifting Oswego to a 14-13 victory over Providence in a battle between two teams that had dropped their openers a week earlier.
Providence (0-2) created the one-point margin with a third-quarter touchdown drive capped by an 11-yard connection from quarterback Steve Simowitz to Mike Markasovic with 7:25 on the clock.
Both teams came up with an interception, but neither could convert the turnovers into points, and Oswego (1-1) missed a field goal in the fourth quarter to build pressure into the final minutes.
Providence kicker PJ Kowalkowski’s punt pinned Oswego back to its 2-yard line with 5:13 to go, but two personal fouls on the Celtics allowed the Panthers to march a combined 30 yards and enter Providence territory. Facing fourth-and-3 at the Providence 41, Oswego’s Steven Frank was stopped on his quarterback sneak to turn the ball over to the Celtics with 2:56 remaining.
Providence running back Richie Warfield (11 carries, 110 yards) ran the ball three times to put the Celtics at midfield, but on fourth-and-3, Warfield was stopped by a wall of Panthers to turn the ball over on downs with 1:20 left. Frank took a knee on the next possession, sealing the Oswego victory.
“This win is huge for our program,” Oswego defensive end Brennan Burdo said. “We’ve never beaten Providence before. Last week was a wake-up call and we wanted to win this one going into conference.”
Oswego scored on its first possession on Frank’s 7-yard quarterback keeper. With 3:32 remaining in the first quarter, Kowalkowski kicked his first of two field goals – this one from 32 yards – to put the Celtics on the scoreboard, 7-3. Derek Bresingham’s interception set up Kowalkowski’s 41-yarder early in the second quarter.
Oswego fumbled near the goal line and recovered the ball in the end zone for its second touchdown of the game with 57 seconds to play in the first half, giving Oswego a 14-6 lead.
“It was a sloppy game, especially on our side,” Providence coach Mark Coglianese said. “We had our opportunities, we just didn’t take advantage of it. The kids played hard. We had penalties that kept putting us in tough situations, long-yard situations, and right now we’re just not good enough to overcome those tough situations.”