WAYNE, N.J. – A 20-yard Cory Mundt (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Hills) field goal with 12.9 seconds left, and an interception by Steven Shawger (Newton, N.J./Newton) as time expired, allowed William Paterson (4-1, 3-1 NJAC) to hand visiting Morrisville State (1-4, 1-3 NJAC) a 31-28 loss Oct. 9 at Wightman Stadium.
The Pioneers, who owned a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter, got the ball back for a final possession after the Mustangs had tied the score at 28-28 with 1:28 remaining. After a 32-yard kickoff return by senior Chris Thomas (West Milford, N.J./West Milford) gave William Paterson the ball at midfield, an incompletion and a five-yard gain by sophomore running back Dawys German (North Arlington, N.J./North Arlington) made it third-and-five at the Morrisville-43. Sophomore Ryan Gresik (Newton, N.J./Newton) found junior Joe Muraglia, Jr. (Belleville, N.J./Queen of Peace) for a six-yard completion, a first down and a clock stoppage after Muraglia scampered out of bounds. German than gained five yards to the far side of the field before stepping out, but two incomplete passes made it fourth-and-five for the Pioneers at the 32-yard line. Following a timeout, Gresik connected with Muraglia for a 16-yard gain, and a spike stopped the clock. Gresik then picked up 13 yards on a quarterback keeper, and WP was forced to burn its final timeout with 12.9 seconds on the clock and the ball at the Morrisville State three-yard line. The Pioneers sent out their field-goal unit, and Thomas was able to get down a high snap for Mundt, who kept the kick inside the left upright and pushed William Paterson ahead on the scoreboard, 31-28.
The Pioneers' A.J. Flores (West Orange, N.J./West Orange) squibbed the kickoff down the center of the field and Ricky Carlson was limited to a seven-yard return, but a WP personal foul tacked on 15 yards and gave the Mustangs hope with the ball at the WP-48. Morrisville State's final attempt resulted in Shawger's interception of a Joe Shue pass in the middle of the field, and the Pioneer sophomore smartly dropped immediately to the ground at his own 39-yard line, ending the game as the clock showed 0:00.
Gresik was 19-for-33 for 211 yards. German picked up 95 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts, and freshman Ray VanPeenen (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) carried 13 times for 37 yards and two scores before being forced to the sideline with an injury. Muraglia caught 11 passes for 128 yards, and sophomore tight end Joseph Cordato (Bayonne, N.J./Bayonne) had four receptions for 48 yards.
Junior bandit Doug Dudek (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Hills) led the William Paterson defense with 10 tackles (three solo). Senior cornerback Leer Biddle (Sicklerville, N.J./Lenape) had seven stops (four solo), a pass breakup and a fumble forced. Thomas added six tackles (four solo) and two passes broken up.
Morrisville State received the opening kickoff but saw its first series come to an abrupt end when sophomore cornerback Andre Snead (Atlantic City, N.J./Atlantic City) jumped the route on a third-and-three pass and took the interception 33 yards into the end zone. Mundt's extra point gave the Pioneers a 7-0 lead 1:11 into the contest.
After the WP defense forced a three-and-out, the Pioneer offense took possession for the first time in the game and put together an 11-play, 68-yard scoring drive. A 10-yard pass on third-and-four from Gresik to junior Matt Reggio (Commack, N.Y./Commack) made it first-and-goal at the two-yard line, and after an incomplete pass, VanPeenen ran off the left tackle and over the goal line, helping to make it a 14-0 score with 5:39 remaining in the first quarter.
A pass interference call helped to ignite a Mustang drive, and a pair of 13-yard carries, the last one by Sean Barrett, cut the William Paterson advantage to 14-7 with 1:30 on the clock in the opening period. Thomas ran back the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but the play was called back due to an illegal block. In the end, it didn't keep the Pioneers from scoring, as a 47-yard pass play from Gresik to Muraglia made it first-and-goal at the three-yard line, and two plays later VanPeenen again found his way into the end zone for a five-yard score and a 21-7 lead.
Sophomore safety German Decena (Union City, N.J./Emerson) ended the Mustangs' next drive with an interception near midfield. Neither team was able to get on the scoreboard again during the remainder of the first half, and William Paterson carried its 21-7 advantage into the locker room.
After the Pioneers punted the ball away to start the third quarter, a 73-yard catch and run by Kyle Gordon gave Morrisville State the ball inside the WP-20. A 14-yard Barrett run and a Juan Rios extra point pulled the Mustangs within a single score at 21-14 five minutes into the second half.
Mundt missed a 25-yard field goal during William Paterson's next drive, but a three-and-out by the WP defense gave the Pioneers the ball back on the Morrisville State 42-yard line. A second-down pass interference call was followed by three straight German carries for a total of 15 yards, and a Gresik eight-yard pass to Reggio set up first-and-goal at the three. German covered the final distance on the next snap, and Mundt's extra point made it a 28-14 margin with 4:11 left in the third quarter.
The two teams exchanged punts before a 46-yard hookup between Shue and Gordon helped Morrisville State start a five-play, 90-yard scoring drive. Shue later found Josh Powell for a 39-yard touchdown and a 28-21 score less than five minutes into the final period.
A three-and-out William Paterson series was followed by a Morrisville incomplete on fourth-and-three at the Pioneer 41-yard line. The Pioneers attempted a 25-yard field goal but were unsuccessful on fourth down, giving the ball back to the Mustangs. Shue's 15-yard completion to AJ Latta on fourth-and-six kept the ball in Morrisville State's possession, and four plays later the pair connected again, this time for a 30-yard score. The Rios extra point knotted the score at 28-28 with 1:28 remaining.
Shue was 11-for-30 for 248 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Barrett scored twice and gained 75 yards on 12 carries, while Gordon caught five passes for 139 yards.
Junior linebacker Anthony Brown forced a fumble and made a game-high 12 tackles (four solo). Sophomore free safety Brendan Chrobak had 11 stops (six solo), and sophomore linebacker Enrique Robinson made nine tackles.
William Paterson will start a two-game road swing Saturday, Oct. 16, at Brockport at 1:00 p.m.