WILKES-BARRE, PA. – Senior quarterback Ryan Gresik (Newton, N.J./Newton) became the Pioneers' career completions and yardage leader and the William Paterson football team (1-0) held off a late King's (0-1) rally as WP began its 2013 season with a 21-19 victory Sept. 7.
Gresik finished 22-for-30 for 250 yards, completing touchdown passes to three different teammates against the Monarchs. In the process, he became WP's career leader in completions (388), breaking the tie he had been in with Rob Warchol (366, 2000-01), and yardage (4,319), surpassing Warchol's total of 4,113.
Following a scoreless first quarter, it was King's that struck first with a five-yard Kyle McGrath run. Kevin Mulvihill kicked the PAT and the Monarchs owned a 7-0 edge with 9:58 remaining in the first half.
Senior cornerback Andre Snead's (Atlantic City, N.J./Atlantic City) interception two series later gave WP the ball at midfield, and the Pioneers three times converted on third down during the 13-play drive, including an 18-yard touchdown completion from Gresik to senior wide receiver Julian Frazier (Plainfield, N.J./North Plainfield). The extra point off the foot of junior Robert Sinegra (Wharton, N.J./Morris Knolls) was good, tying the score at 7-7 with 1:45 on the clock.
William Paterson forced a punt to open the second half and started its first possession with a 50-yard Gresik-to-Mick Paye (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley Regional) completion. Five plays later, Gresik again found Paye, this time for a 12-yard score, and Sinegra's PAT handed the Pioneers a 14-7 lead with 9:13 to play in the third quarter.
WP capped a nine-play, 47-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass by Gresik to sophomore wide receiver Nickolas Burke (Maple Shade, N.J./Maple Shade), making it a 21-7 game six seconds into the fourth quarter.
The two teams traded punts until Judens Goimbert's three-yard touchdown carry for King's with 4:05 remaining. Senior defensive lineman Webb Geer (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) then made one of the key plays of the game, blocking the extra-point kick to keep it an eight-point game at 21-13.
Two third-down conversions and a 14-yard gain on fourth-and-one kept the chains moving when King's got the ball back, and quarterback Tyler Hartranft finished the possession with a 40-yard score to Josh Sanders, pulling the Monarchs to within two at 21-19 with 1:10 to play. Forced to go for two, Hartranft's pass was unsuccessful.
King's attempted the on-side kick but William Paterson recovered and took a knee twice to run out the clock.
Paye caught six passes for 108 yards, his fourth career 100-yard effort, and a touchdown, while Burke finished with four receptions, 50 yards and a touchdown during his first career appearance. Sophomore Darius Kersey (Dover, N.J./Dover) led the ground game with 36 yards on 10 attempts,
Junior linebacker Ben Allen (Ventnor, N.J./Atlantic City), junior defensive back Elijah DeGuzman (Pennsauken, N.J./Pennsauken) and senior linebacker David Zurla (Rutherford, N.J./Rutherford) each finished with nine tackles to pace the WP defense. DeGuzman forced a fumble and Allen posted 1.5 tackles for a loss (0.5 sack). Junior linebacker Robert Prince (Howell, N.J./Absegami) added seven stops, and Frazier punted seven times for an average of 42.1 yards.
Hartranft was 14-for-36 for 213 yards and a score for King's. McGrath gained 94 yards on 22 rushes, scoring once, and Dan Kempa caught five passes for 105 yards. Nick Kaijala led both teams with 10 tackles.
William Paterson will visit Bridgewater State Saturday, Sept. 14, at 12:00 p.m.