October 3, 2011
Dragons tame Mustangs
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland freshman Bronson Greene breaks a tackle by Ousmane Diallo (31) of Morrisville to score one of his four touchdowns during the Red Dragons’ 55-14 romp Saturday night.
SUNY Cortland tailback Dorian Myles is feeling his age these days.
Now, it’s nothing anyone can really notice. And the senior appeared as frisky as ever —as did the the rest of the Red Dragons this past Saturday evening — while making a 162-yard rushing contribution to a 55-14 football dismantling of visiting and still winless Morrisville State.
It’s only when Myles glances around at all the other running backs remaining on this nationally-ranked Cortland squad, now off to a 3-1 start in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, that this notion creeps into his mind.
“I feel like the old guy now, with all those guys freshmen and all the old guys hurt. I’m the only old guy left standing,” said Myles with a smile.
The ‘old guys’ he was referring to are junior Justin Autera and senior Joe Aston, who have both suffered season-ending injuries to move Myles up the depth chart. The impressive rookies who all got carries in the win over Morrisville in a supporting role were Bronson Greene, Tre Spaulding and Daniel Olivier. Greene scored four touchdowns on his dozen carries as Myles’ main back-up, with those end zone visits earning him NJAC Offensive Rookie of the Week honors.
Those kids may be eventually needed in this Cortland quest to repeat as conference champions.
Those kids weren’t really needed going up against a Morrisville team that came to town 0-3 but had been very competitive in each of those losses. The Mustangs were nipped by Hartwick College by a mere three points, lost a one-point heart-breaker to nationally-ranked Montclair State and were hardly considered pushovers.
But in just the second night football game ever played at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex, the Red Dragons scored on the second play of the game when sophomore John Babin turned a simple wide receiver screen pass from quarterback Dan Pitcher into a 48-yard touchdown.
Morrisville never recovered from that early shock.
Cortland scored on seven of its first eight possessions while taking 48-0 halftime command and finished with a season-best 506 yards of offense. To go along with Greene’s quartet of touchdowns — the first three from close range before breaking off a 19-yarder in the third quarter — Babin tied a single-game school record with three TD receptions. Myles also found the end zone from a yard out in the opening quarter on this damp and chilly evening where 1,888 fans showed up for Cortland’s Homecoming contest.
AND HOW GOOD was the Cortland defense?
The Red Dragons led 28-0 before Morrisville posted its initial first down, were up 35-0 before the visitors finally crossed the 50-yard line. Cortland collected its first interceptions of the season from senior cornerback D.J. Romano in the first half and freshman back-up linebacker Lucas Myer in the late going, sacked Mustang quarterbacks five times and held the visitors to just 194 total yards.
Defensive ends Connor Tompkins and Joe Kirchner, linebackers Mike Wilson and Jesse Scanna (another impressive freshman) and safety Phil Bossman were those Red Dragons getting in on sacks. Inside linebacker Bill Smith had a team-high nine tackles, Wilson part of eight stops.
In the first half, Morrisville’s 28 plays earned them just 22 yards.
“The kids were really anxious to get off and get going,” said pleased head coach Dan MacNeill of the Cortland effort, the Red Dragons coming into the game ranked 18th in the latest D3football.com national poll. “It’s the fourth game, and that was the challenge. It’s the fourth game and it was like ‘How good are we?
“You know, Morrisville was coming in 0-3 but with some nice hype because they’ve played some good teams tough,” he added. “The kids were looking to upstage them and I think we did, which was surprising.”
It was also a nice way to head into this coming Saturday’s 1 p.m. showdown at Montclair State, who nipped Brockport 20-13 to stay unbeaten this past weekend.
Needing only seven plays to grab a 14-0 lead on a pair of Pitcher-to-Babin TD tosses really deflated any Mustang upset hopes — Morrisville now 0-7 against the Red Dragons all-time. And the opening Babin breakaway right in front of the visitor’s bench really set the tone for the evening.
“It was a big touchdown to get us started. We’ve just worked really hard this week in practice and we just got it done, got the ‘W’” said Babin, who now has 27 catches and a half-dozen touchdowns through four games. “Coach (Alex) Smith, my wide receivers coach, has been working on specific things with me and I think that has helped out a lot.”
Babin’s second touchdown catch was a sliding 27-yarder from Pitcher on a post pattern, and he scored Cortland’s seventh touchdown of the opening half with just 22 seconds left when Pitcher found the Warwick Valley High School product alone in the back of the end zone.
THE SHIFTY MYLES was considered doubtful for the Morrisville game, having been carried off the field in the second half of the previous weekend’s 31-28 win at Rowan. It wasn’t until Thursday that a thigh bruise had healed enough to allow him to practice.
“I didn’t know if I was going to go, but I just felt good today so I went out there and had a good game,” said the 5-foot-10, 195-pound Lackawanna natvie who went to Hamburg High School in Western New York.
“The O-line was crazy. The holes were huge and anyone could have gotten through there,” added Myles, who averaged nine yards per carry while providing to be very elusive in the open field.
“I think we’ve kind of owned the line of scrimmage in all of our games so far, but this one was very evident,” said Coach MacNeill of both his offensive and defensive fronts.
On the offensive side of things senior center Corey Hymes, junior guards Randy Bloom and Mike Wurtzer and senior tackles Billy Castro and Matt Pitcher pretty much had their way pushing Morrisville around. The Red Dragons rushed for 259 yards overall, which made things easier when quarterback Dan Pitcher wanted to throw the ball.
Pitcher completed 12 of his 18 tosses for 212 yards, was not sacked and got the second half off.
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