October 2 , 2006


Red Dragons stay unbeaten

Red Dragons Football

Photo provided by David Blatchley
SUNY Cortland quarterback Alex Smith fends off William Paterson tackler Harold Green (22) and Alan Peek (95) during Saturday’s NJAC football battle. Smith threw for two TDs and ran for another in 30-14 Red Dragons victory.

Sports Editor

A couple of big plays by William Paterson made things a bit too uncomfortable for this undefeated SUNY Cortland football team on a cloudy Saturday afternoon.
That’s why after the Red Dragons finished off a 30-14 victory in a New Jersey Athletic Conference match-up, Coach Dan MacNeill mused: “It was a frustrating one, bitter sweet.”
But he quickly added with a grin: “But we’re 4-0, by gosh.”
Unbeaten through four contests for the first time since 1997, when MacNeill was in his first season as the head coach at his alma mater, Cortland ran off 33 more plays than the visiting Pioneers. The Red Dragons ended up with a lopsided a 423-150 edge in total yards in a turnover-free performance.
If not for nine penalties — seven of those called against the offense in a second half where the lone points were a 38-yard field goal Red Dragon Matthew Mintz snuck over the crossbar with 7:06 left to play — the final score would have been even more lopsided.
“Basically, the only people who have stopped our offense is us. We have to stop the stupid penalties,” said senior tailback and captain Matt Rickert, who contributed 108 determined rushing yards to an offense that hogged the football for 38:22 of this game’s 60 minutes.
Junior quarterback Alex Smith threw touchdown passes to senior wide receivers Anthony Morat and Drew Lascari, and scrambled 16 yards for another score. Morat, back in the line-up after a shoulder injury, caught eight passes. Lascari latched onto six catches for a career best 131 yards — including a 64-yard touchdown pass play that broke a 14-14 tie.
Up to that point, these visitors from Wayne, N.J., were being pests. Up to that point, the Pioneers didn’t look like an 0-3 team with quarterback woes.
CORTLAND COVERED 80 yards in 15 plays for the game’s opening touchdown, chewing up nearly nine minutes of game clock before Smith hit Morat with a 10-yard slant pass for the TD. Morat had clutch third and fourth down receptions on crossing patterns that kept that drive alive, too.
But on William Paterson’s second snap of the game, tailback Calvin Johnson broke free off right tackle for a 64-yard touchdown jaunt that tied things at 7-7.
Cortland responded with a 74-yard drive, started with a 35-yard sideline burst by Rickert off an option pitch and ended with Smith’s escape from the William Paterson pass rush on his 16-yard end zone excursion.
William Paterson failed to get points after a 41-yard pass play from quarterback Juan Garcia to talented wide out Kareen Moon, as Cortland linebacker Dave D’Aurelio blocked a field goal attempt. But the Pioneers would score with 7:38 left in the half when Harold Green blocked a Red Dragon punt, All-America linebacker Shadee Davis recovering the football in the end zone for a touchdown.
After a short kickoff return, it took one play for the Red Dragons to regain the lead.
Smith unleashed a sideline bomb to Lascari, who made the grab and then cut back into the middle of the field. Fullback Mike Sveda hustled downfield for a crushing block at the end of that 64-yard scoring strike.
A poor Pioneers punt would lead to Mintz booting the first of three field goals with 2:40 left for a 24-14. And after a Rich DeJesus third down sack led to another William Paterson punt, Cortland managed the final 1:53 well despite having a lone timeout after taking possession at the visitors 41.
Two 16-yard receptions by Morat and Lascari were part of a drive that reached the William Paterson 9-yard line, where Mintz sent the Red Dragons into halftime 27-14 leaders by connecting from 20 yards out.
THE PIONEERS were pretty much roughed up by the Red Dragon defense the rest of the way. William Paterson came into the game without injured starting quarterback Sean Ryan, and lost back-up Garcia to a leg injury while being sacked by defensive end Brad Robison in the third quarter.
Take away the 64-yard burst by Johnson and the 41-yard completion to Moon, and the Pioneers gained just 45 yards in their other 37 snaps.
“The offense had our backs, but we came on strong,” said senior inside linebacker Bill Hauser, referring to how the offense moved the football after Johnson’s long TD run.
 “They pride themselves into knocking off the top dog, and I think we’re going to be the top dog soon,” added Hauser, referring to the face William Paterson knocked off grid goliath Rowan last season.
And the Red Dragons defense took over with starting senior linebacker Matt Monpetit sitting this game out with a separated shoulder. “Matt and I are comfortable with each other, but we put Kyle Pierce in there and he hit some people,” said Hauser, junior Pierce getting his first start for the Red Dragons.
William Paterson finished with a mere five first downs, had to punt the ball away eight times and suffered five quarterback sacks. Hauser led the way with seven tackles, while defensive tackle Adam Haas and safety Matt Berman had six apiece — junior Berman with a pair of crushing hits on kickoffs.
With the defense dominating, Cortland could get away with its rash of offensive penalties that proved to be drive-killers. “That was a little disconcerting. I think we lost our poise a little bit,” said MacNeill.
Still, this Red Dragon squad ranked in three different Division III national polls continues their unbeaten ways — with Kean University coming to town this Saturday in a 1 p.m. NJAC clash. Kean (3-1) routed Buffalo State 50-30 to get its conference play underway on Saturday.



Groton boys shut out Waverly

GROTON — Matt Parsons gave Groton Central boys the lead and the Indians would roll to 3-0 Interscholastic Athletic Conference crossover soccer win on their home pitch over Waverly Saturday.
Parsons scored 12 minutes into the match off a cross from Derek Wheldon as Groton (4-6-1 overall) took a_1-0 halftime lead.
“Matt got a big goal for us,” Groton coach John D’Antonio said. “We put more pressure on in the first half, but the Waverly goalkeeper (Lee Smith) made some good saves to keep them in the game. Our guys started to get frustrated when they could not score again, but they settled down and it paid off. We scored twice in the second half to pull away.
“It was a good for our morale and I am happy that the guys get this win.”
Wheldon and Erich Harris accounted for the damage in the second half. Harris assisted on Wheldon’s goal as Groton took a 2-0 lead and Harris scored, with Wheldon assisting, to complete the scoring. Groton enjoyed a 19-9 edge in shots.
Groton goalkeeper Kyle Yunger made five saves and earned the shutout. Smith finished with 10 saves for Waverly.
“It was a well-deserved shutout for Kyle,” D’Antonio said. “He has worked hard all year and his teammates made sure he was rewarded today. Kyle also had a lot of support from some of his former Cortland Christian Academy teammates who came to the game.”
Groton will host Marathon today in IAC Division III action at 4:15 p.m.



Cincy CA in soccer split, again

NEW HARTFORD — It was a second straight day of mixed results for the Cincinnatus Christian Academy soccer teams on Saturday.
Playing a pair of Empire State Christian Athletic League contests against the same foes as the day before, the results were the same.
Cincinnatus Christian girls blanked Penn Yan Emmanuel 7-0, but would then drop a 5-1 outing to host Maranatha Christian.
Rachel Hicks had three goals, while Hannah McGowan had two goals and two assists, in the win over Pen Yan. The Eagles (3-5 ESCAL, 4-5-1 overall) also got goals from Kerri Brown and Caitlyn Blanchard in the victory, part of a 25-shot barrage.
Maranatha Christian got three goals and an assist from Devon McHarris in the second game. McGowan scored off a Hicks assist for the lone Cincy Christian goal, which tied the game 1-1 in the opening half.
Cincinnatus Christian boys rolled past Penn Yan Emmanuel 13-0, only to lose 6-2 to Maranatha Christian to finish the doubleheader.
P.J. Passalacqua had three goals and three assists, Ben Hicks three goals and an assist and Aaron Blanchard two goals and two assists for the Eagles against Penn Yan. Mike Kuss tallied twice, while D.J. Heath, Brandon Goodno and Jayson Moore also scored. Keeper Steve Schutta had six saves in the shutout.
The Eagles (3-5 ESCAL, 5-5 overall) managed only a pair of second half goals by Blanchard in the loss to Maranatha Christian. David Arthur had three goals for the winners.