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MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State College football team shocked visiting SUNY Cortland Saturday afternoon, recording the 38-31 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) victory in front of a packed house in Morrisville on Mustang Weekend (homecoming).

th_football9The win boosts the Mustangs to a 3-1 start on the season as they are the first team to claim a conference victory in the 2014 season. It’s the first time in nine meetings Morrisville State has topped Cortland.

The Red Dragons drop to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in conference play, a mark Cortland hasn’t seen since the 1986 campaign.

Morrisville State outgained the visitors 502- to 426-yards total offense on the day, including a total 384-yard effort from senior quarterback Lemar Johnson (Ossining, N.Y.).

Johnson went 19-for-39 on the day for 244 yards and four touchdown scores, adding 140 net yards on 21 carries on the ground. Seven of his completions were to junior Anthony Mella (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who tallied 92-yards and two scores for the Mustangs. Anthony Gray (Smallwood, N.Y.) added three receptions for 55-yards and two scores, while Josh Powell (Yonkers, N.Y.) registered six catches for 57 yards.

Defensively, Delroy Young (Binghamton, N.Y.) had a monster game for the Mustangs, posting a collegiate best 15 total stops, eight solo, while registering a sack for a loss of four yards. Wally Stephens (Kingston, N.Y.) added a 14 tackle effort, as teammates Shane Carroll (Morrisville, N.Y.) and Caleb Wright (Cortland, N.Y.) each contributed 11 stops on the day.

th_football9Terrell Perryman (Centereach, N.Y.) added eight tackles and two pass breakups, while registering the lone interception of the game, a feat that was returned 39 yards and led to a Mustang score.

Junior quarterback John Grassi connected on 25-of-39 attempts for 170 yards on the day, while teammate Lou Buschi added a 4-for-4 effort for 53-yards and a score.

Jon Mannix led the wide receiving corp for Cortland, registering 12 receptions for a team high 79 yards. The Red Dragons lone touchdown came from receiver KJ Zinermon who registered seven receptions for 62-yards.

Dylan Peebles led the Cortland efforts in the running game, recording a net 124 yards and a score on 24 carries, and added a second score on a kickoff return that was returned 90 yards into the endzone.

Andrew Tolosi and Tristan Laurore each posted 11 tackles to lead the defensive unit in the loss, Tolosi making 10 solo stops.

Morrisville State struck first, scoring on their opening drive as Cristian Pena (Ridgewood, N.Y.) capped off the 12 play, 60-yard drive on a four yard carry into the endzone just two minutes in.

th_football9Morrisville State was able to extend their lead to 14-0 with just over four minutes remaining in the opening quarter, as Johnson hit Mella in the back of the end zone on a three-yard pass play.

Cortland was able to get on the board late in the quarter, after a fumble by the Mustangs special teams on a punt return that positioned the Red Dragons on the Morrisville State 19. The Mustangs defense was able to force Cortland to settle for a 33 yard field goal by Shane Cronin with nine seconds left on the clock.

In the second, Cortland was able to cut the lead to four early in the second quarter, as Peebles found ground in the running game, capping off the 71-yard drive in 10 plays with a 2-yard rushing score.

Morrisville State made it a 21-10 game late in the quarter, as Johnson hit Mella who was left wide open on the left sideline and walked into the end zone for the score.

The 11 point lead was short-lived, however, as on the ensuing kickoff, Peebles returned the ball 90-yards up the Mustang sideline after four missed tackles for the score, and sending the game into the halftime break with a score of 21-17.

th_football9Cortland started with possession in the third, and quickly turned the ball over to the hosts, as Perryman stepped in front of the receiver to intercept Grassi, returning the ball 39 yards and giving Morrisville State a drive starting within the red zone.

The Red Dragons were able to hold the Mustangs to a field goal that Zach Drake (Canastota, N.Y.) nailed between the uprights from 21-yards out.

Cortland brought the game back within four late in the quarter, as Cronin hit his second field goal of the game, this time from 22 yards out, cutting it to 24-20 with four minutes to go in the third.

Within minutes, Morrisville State regained the double digit lead, as Johnson hit Gray who was wide open in the middle of the field, and proceeded to break two tackles and walk into the endzone for the 31-20 lead.

Cortland carried possession into the fourth quarter and had a chance to make it a one possession game, but the 29-yard field goal attempt by Cronin sailed wide left.

th_football9The Red Dragons forced a quick three-and-out on a drive that took just 51 seconds off the clock, and capitalized on their ensuing drive, driving 56-yards in just six plays, and completing the drive with a 32-yard scoring pass play from Buschi to Zinermon. Grassi hit Josh Riley in the right corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion, making it a three point game with 10 minutes showing on the clock.

Morrisville State responded four minutes later, as Johnson hit Gray who was left wide open for a second time on a slant in the endzone for the score and 38-28 Mustang lead.

Cortland was able to bring the game back within a score with a 33 yard field goal from Cronin with 3:41 to go, but the visitors could not regain possession as Morrisville State picked up the conference win.

Morrisville State returns to the field next Saturday, hosting The College of New Jersey at noon on Drake Field.


Courtesy Cortland State

Cortland Red Dragons (0-2, 0-0 NJAC) vs. Morrisville St. Mustangs (2-1, 0-0 NJAC)
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014; 1 p.m.; Drake Field; Morrisville, N.Y.

THE MATCHUP: Cortland travels to Morrisville to open the 2014 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) schedule. The schools are both in their final season as NJAC members and will both join the Empire 8 in 2015. Saturday’s game is the only one in the NJAC for the week – the league slate begins in full force on Oct. 4.

th_football9THE SERIES: Cortland has won the first nine games in its series versus Morrisville, including victories each of the last eight seasons. The series actually began in 1930 with Cortland winning, 12-0, and the teams did not meet again until the Red Dragons won 52-14 at Morrisville in 2006.

Cortland won an offensive slugfest versus the Mustangs last year in Cortland, 62-49, in a game that set Cortland school records for most combined points (111) and total offensive yardage (1,263 – 641 for Cortland, 622 for Morrisville). John Grassi, in his first collegiate start, completed 24-of-34 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. 

John Babin caught 15 passes, one shy of the school single-game record, for 160 yards and two scores and Justin Autera grabbed three passes for 109 yards and a score. Dylan Peebles and Autera each rushed for more than 100 yards. Peebles carried the ball 11 times for 171 yards and three touchdowns and Autera had 30 carries for 133 yards and a score. Josh Riley caught a TD pass and Nick Daley made two field goals.

Morrisville QB Lemar Johnson connected on 32-of-47 passes for 396 yards and five touchdowns, with Tony Deese also throwing a scoring pass. Josh Powell finished with 15 receptions for 130 yards and four touchdowns and Anthony Gray made 13 catches for 187 yards and a TD. Cristian Pena ran 21 times for 142 yards and a TD and Anthony Mella had a TD catch.

th_football9Other notable games in the series include the 2007 game at Cortland – the Red Dragons’ first-ever home night game – that didn’t end until 12:46 a.m. due to two lightning delays, with Cortland winning 71-7, and the Red Dragons’ 51-37 win at Morrisville in 2008 in which Andrew Giuliano ran for a school-record 281 yards, including four TDs.

CORTLAND CAPSULE: Cortland has been idle since losing at home to Brockport, 17-14, on Sept. 13. Dylan Peebles led the Red Dragons with 167 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries. Brockport made the game-tying field goa with 2:02 remaining, and Cortland’s final drive ended on an offensive penalty at the Brockport 1-yard line in the closing seconds.

Cornerback Tyler Anderson and linebacker Troy Beddoe led Cortland with nine tackles each. Safety Andrew Tolosi recorded six tackles, an interception and three pass breakups and linebacker Matt Ambrose finished with eight tackles and a fumble recovery.

Through two games, quarterback John Grassi has completed 45-of-83 passes (54.2 percent) for 660 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Josh Riley and wide receiver Jon Mannix each have nine receptions and receiver Jack Delahunty has caught eight passes for 184 yards and a score. Peebles is averaging 111.5 yards per game on the ground and has scored four times. Shane Cronin averages 34.3 yards per punt, and only two of his 14 punts have been returned. He is also 2-for-2 on field goal attempts.

th_football9Beddoe and Ambrose lead the defense with 20 and 19 tackles, respectively. Anderson has made 15 stops and defensive end Gabe Ostrow is the Red Dragons’ leader with 4.5 tackles for losses. Tolosi has five pass breakups through two contests.

Head coach Dan MacNeill is in his 18th season with the Red Dragons. His overall record of 114-63 (.644) ranks him first at Cortland in career victories and winning percentage. He won NJAC Coach of the Year honors in both 2008 and 2012, and also was a finalist for Liberty Mutual National Div. III Coach of the Year honors in 2008 after leading the Red Dragons to the league title and the NCAA quarterfinals.

MacNeill has guided Cortland to five NCAA playoff appearances (1997, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012) and seven ECAC bowl games. His teams have finished at least tied for first in the NJAC six times (2005-08, 2010, 2012), including outright NJAC titles in 2008 and 2012. His 2008 squad was honored with the Lambert Meadowlands Trophy and the ECAC Div. III Team of the Year awards. MacNeill is a 1979 Cortland alumnus and played linebacker and defensive tackle from 1975-78. An assistant coach at Division I-AA (now FCS) Villanova University from 1984-1996, MacNeill is Cortland’s 11th head coach since the school’s modern era of football began in 1924. MacNeill served as linebackers coach at Villanova and was the team’s defensive coordinator from 1988-96.

th_football9A LOOK AT…MORRISVILLE ST. COLLEGE: Morrisville opened the season with wins over Alfred State, 69-17, and at Hartwick, 43-40, before losing at St. Lawrence last weekend, 31-14. The Mustangs led the Saints, 14-7, early in the second quarter before allowing the game’s final 24 points.

Lemar Johnson has thrown for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns with three interceptions in three games. He has completed 51-of-88 passes (58 percent). Johnson has also rushed for 214 yards (71.3 per game) with two scores. Johnson threw for six touchdowns versus Alfred State. Josh Powell has caught 17 passes for 270 yards and five touchdowns, four against Alfred State, and Anthony Gray has 13 receptions for 184 yards and two TDs.

Caleb Wright averages nearly 12 tackles per game (35 total) and Colton Evans has two sacks among his 25 tackles. Zach Drake has made 16-of-17 point-after kicks, but has yet to attempt a field goal, while Tyler Dunworth averages 33.1 yards per punt, with only one of his 10 kicks being returned.

The Mustangs average 473.7 yards per game of total offense with a balanced attack that features 224.7 rushing yards and 249.0 passing yards per contest. Morrisville’s opponents are averaging 388 yards of total offense per game.

Curt Fitzpatrick is in his second season as Morrisville’s head coach. His combined record of 5-8 (.385) includes a 41-21 victory last season over eventual NJAC champion Rowan. Fitzpatrick served as Utica College’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2008-12, preceded by two seasons as quarterbacks coach at St. John Fisher College. Fitzpatrick graduated in 2004 from St. John Fisher, where he was a four-year letterwinning quarterback. In his final season, he earned Empire 8 all-league honors and set Fisher single-season passing records with 30 touchdowns and 2,366 yards. The Cardinals advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 that season.



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MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State College football team suffered a 31-14 setback Saturday afternoon on the road at St. Lawrence University, faltering in the second half as the hosts ran away with the non-conference victory in Canton

The loss is the first for the Mustangs on the season, as they drop to 2-1 overall, while St. Lawrence ups their record to 2-1.

Morrisville State was kept to a season low 253 total yards offense on the day, and limited to just 123 net yards passing while the Saints registered 380, including nearly 200 in the running game.

Quarterback Lemar Johnson (Ossining, N.Y.) connected on 17-of-30 attempts for 123 yards, hitting wide receiver Anthony Gray (Smallwood, N.Y.) for a team high 56 yards on six receptions.

th_football9Johnson also led the Mustangs on the ground, recording 74 net yards on 19 attempts, while Cristian Pena (Ridgewood, N.Y.) added another 56 yards, rushing for the Mustangs only two touchdown scores.

Wally Stephens (Kingston, N.Y.) and Delroy Young (Binghamton, N.Y.) each registered double digit tackles, Stephens 13 and Young 11. Richardson Derosena (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added nine in the defensive efforts for Morrisville State.

Maurice Irby led the Saints in the running game, registering 85 net yards on 25 carries for a score, while Paul Wonka added 54 more yards and two additional touchdowns.

Mike Lefflbine connected on 18-of-31 pass attempts for 183 yards and a score, including one to Mitch Gallagher who led the receiving corp with 76 yards on seven catches for a score.

Alec Dietsch posted 10 total stops to lead the hosts defensive unit.

th_football9Morrisville State was first to strike on the day, scoring on their first drive of the contest just over five minutes in. Pena capped off the 10-play, 80-yard drive with a one yard rushing score, and Zach Drake (Canastota, N.Y.) nailed the extra point, giving the Mustangs the early 7-0 lead.

St. Lawrence responded on the ensuing drive, marching the ball in 15 plays downfield with 2:29 to go to even the score at 7. Wonka capped off the 73-yard drive with a one-yard rushing score.

Early in the second, Morrisville State would go ahead on a four yard run by Pena, but the Saints would later respond, evening the contest for a second time, as Lefflbine hit Gallagher on a five yard pass play for the score.

The second half belonged to the Saints, as the hosts defensive unit got the best of the Mustangs and capitalized on the visitors struggle in moving the ball.

th_football9Early in the third, St. Lawrence’s defense forced a quick three-and-out series with the final blow being a sack on Johnson, before beginning their next offensive drive within the Mustangs territory. Andrew Carvalho nailed a 34 yard field goal to put the hosts ahead 17-14.

On the ensuing Morrisville State drive, the Saints defense again made a huge stop of the high powered offense, limiting the Mustangs to just two yards on five plays before regaining possession at midfield for a second straight drive.

Irby extended St. Lawrence’s lead with a five-yard scoring run late in the third, giving the hosts a 24-14 advantage heading into the final quarter.

Wonka put the Saints ahead 31-14 early in the fourth with a 10-yard scoring run, before Dietsch issued the final dagger, an interception on the ensuing Mustang drive.

Morrisville State was limited to a mere nine yards total offense in the entire second half.

The Mustangs return to the field Saturday, hosting SUNY Cortland for the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) opener and for Mustang Weekend, the college’s homecoming. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. on the Morrisville State campus.


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