It’s Pace’s program as new ‘Ville coach looks to rebound off enigmatic start

Somerville head coach Ian Pace – in the background – watches his players run drills during voluntary summer workouts on August 1, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Ian Pace’s journey to becoming the head coach at Somerville is a bit of a winding road. An offensive lineman at Fordham then an assistant coach for 12 years at the college level, Pace found his way to The ‘Ville almost by accident. While on a recruiting trip for Division 3 St. John Fisher, he heard of the open position, knocked on the front door to the high school, and was led upstairs to the athletic offices. That day, Pace says he got a feel for how great an opportunity this would be. Eight months later, that feeling has only gotten stronger.

“It takes a village to run The ‘Ville,” Pace said, emphasizing the unbelievable community support surrounding the Pioneers football program. “It’s our program. It’s the community.”

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Somerville has been a juggernaut in Central Jersey for the better part of a decade. Shouldered by a 57-8 run since 2016 under Jeff Vanderbeek (2016-17) and Dallas Whitaker (2018-21) that featured three state finals appearances, this isn’t a reboot or a rebuild for Pace; he’s just receiving the baton.

Third-year starting quarterback Mike Miller has thrown for almost 3,500 yards and nearly 40 touchdowns in his career. Senior Hashym Hobbs-Harris (178 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns) and sophomore Terrell Mitchell (156 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns) are dynamic in the backfield. Senior slot receiver Wes Hack (14 catches, 236 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns) has emerged as the Pioneers’ main target through the air.

One of the Big Central’s most explosive offenses, Somerville has tallied 88 points in its three games. But after a forfeit in the season opener and a loss to St. Joseph-Metuchen last week, the Pioneers have just one win, 42-33 at Old Bridge on September 2, through three games. They will look to get back to .500 in the Big Central Game of the Week Friday night at Montgomery.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will broadcast the game live with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling the play-by-play. Kickoff is at 7 pm at Montgomery High School, and the pregame show begins at 6:45. Click here to listen.

Central Jersey Sports Radio will broadcast the game live Friday night, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the play-by-play. Kickoff is at 7 pm at Montgomery High School in Skillman, and the pregame show begins around 6:45. Click here to listen.

Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk with Somerville head coach Ian Pace about the Pioneers and the upcoming matchup with Montgomery:

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