Providence needed to win two of its last three games to be eligible for playoffs.
On Saturday that dropped to one of two after the Celtics' 21-13 victory against No. 20 Fenwick in a Catholic League crossover at Concordia University in River Forest.
Providence (4-3) took a 14-13 lead with 6 minutes, 35 seconds remaining on Justin Hunniford's 43-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Garwood and Austin Regan's point-after kick.
The Celtics had two interceptions in the final minutes to seal the outcome. Defensive lineman Jeff Cesario returned his interception 15 yards for a touchdown with 2:27 left.
"This whole week we said this was a playoff game," said Hunniford, whose team finishes the regular season against Mount Carmel and Brother Rice. "It means you have to bring it every day at practice and in the game. You can't take a play off. One play can make the difference in your season."
Providence capped a 13-play, 60-yard drive with Hunniford's 4-yard touchdown pass to Western Michigan-bound running back Dominic Lagone for the only score of the first half.
That's where the score stood until Fenwick (6-1) tied it on Charlie Emmons' 2-yard touchdown run to start the fourth quarter. The Friars vaulted ahead 13-7 on Robert Spillane's 8-yard touchdown run with 8:24 remaining.
"Our first goal is to win the conference," Fenwick coach Gene Nudo said. "I told our guys all week that this was not the biggest game of the year for us. The biggest game of the year really is next week (against De La Salle). Now we've got to see how resilient we are, how we bounce back from this."
Player of the game: Justin Hunniford, Providence, 11-for-16, 110 yards, 2 TDs.
Key performers: Providence — Dominic Lagone, 23 carries, 131 yards, 1 TD catch; Jeff Cesario, 15-yard interception TD. Fenwick — Robert Spillane, 19 carries, 82 yards, 1 TD; Richard Schoen, 4 catches, 66 yards.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun