CORTLAND, N.Y. – Cortland junior quarterback Tyler Hughes (Scranton, PA/West Scranton) rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Red Dragons to a 26-15 win over visiting William Paterson in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) opener for both squads. Cortland is 1-1 overall and the Pioneers drop to 1-2.
Hughes is the first Cortland quarterback, and 11th Red Dragon player overall, to rush for at least 200 yards in a game. He finished with 23 rushes, including scoring runs of 49 and nine yards. As a team, Cortland ran for 318 net yards on 42 carries for a 7.6 yards-per-carry average.
William Paterson senior quarterback Ryan Gresik (Newton, NJ) completed 39-of-58 passes for 357 yards, but was sacked eight times. Senior Mick Paye (Lumberton, NJ/Rancocas Valley Regional) caught nine passes for 120 yards, senior Brian Winfield (Newton, NJ) made eight catches for 59 yards and senior Julian Frazier (Plainfield, NJ/North Plainfield) grabbed seven passes for 81 yards. Frazier also averaged 45.6 yards per punt on seven attempts, including a 71-yarder.
Cortland senior defensive end Joe Kirchner (Holbrook/Sachem North) registered 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble among his nine total tackles. Sophomore safety Andre Green (Watertown/Indian River) led the Red Dragons with 11 tackles, 10 solo, and also recorded a fumble recovery and pass breakup. Junior defensive end Gabe Ostrow (Nanuet) added 3.5 tackles for losses, including 1.5 sacks, and junior safety Andrew Tolosi (Monroe/Monroe-Woodbury) finished with nine tackles, eight solo, and a forced fumble.
Senior linebacker David Zurla (Rutherford, NJ) paced the Pioneers with 12 tackles, including two sacks. Senior cornerback Andre Snead (Atlantic City, NJ) made seven tackles. William Paterson finished the game with six sacks.
Cortland opened the game with a seven-play, 66-yard drive that was capped by a Hughes 9-yard TD run and the Red Dragons led 7-0 just 2:35 into the game. Late in the first quarter, a Frazier punt pinned Cortland at the 2-yard line, and on 2nd-and-10 Zurla sacked Hughes in the end zone for a safety to pull the Pioneers within 7-2.
About nine minutes into the second half, Hughes dropped back to pass on 3rd-and-5 at the William Paterson 49-yard line. He eluded a rush, ran to his left, high-stepped a defender and raced untouched down the left sideline for a 49-yard scoring run and a 14-2 Red Dragon lead.
The Pioneers mounted a 12-play, 60-yard scoring drive that started with 1:27 left in the half. The drive stalled at the Cortland 29-yard line, but junior Robert Sinegra (Wharton, NJ/Morris Knolls) hit a line-drive 46-yard field goal on the final play of the period and the guests entered the locker room down 14-5.
The Pioneers then received the second-half kickoff and proceeded to drive 75 yards on 15 plays for a touchdown. Gresik ran 11 yards on 3rd-and-10 from the Cortland 22-yard line to keep the drive alive, and three plays later sophomore Darius Kersey (Dover, NJ) plowed through the middle for a 2-yard TD run on 3rd-and-1 to pull William Paterson within two at 14-12.
On the ensuing kickoff, however, Cortland senior Justin Autera (Mahopac) fielded the ball at the 7-yard line, ran for eight yards, then handed the ball to Green on a reversal. Green covered the final 85 yards for a touchdown and a 20-12 Cortland lead. The extra point failed as Hughes, the holder, took off but was stopped short of the goal line.
William Paterson responded with a six-play drive that resulted in a Sinegra 39-yard field goal and the Cortland lead was down to five at 20-15. Early in the fourth quarter, a Kirchner sack and forced fumble stopped a Pioneers' drive at the Cortland 35-yard line. Hughes ran for eight and 35 yards on the next two plays, followed by an Autera 3-yard run. Sophomore Jon Mannix (East Northport/John H. Glenn) finished the drive with a 17-yard scoring run on a wide receiver reverse play. Cortland failed on its two-point conversion attempt and led 26-15.
Cortland senior punter Mike DeBole (Webster/Webster Schroeder) averaged 39 yards per punt on six attempts, and four of his six kicks pinned William Paterson inside their own 15-yard line. That included punts that were downed at the 1-yard and 3-yard lines in the fourth quarter. William Paterson lost the ball on fumbles on its first three drives of the fourth quarter, and the clock ran out on its final possession.
Senior wide receiver John Babin (Warwick/Warwick Valley) had his Cortland school-record string of nine straight games with at least one TD reception snapped. He was limited to one catch for six yards. Babin recorded TD catches in the last eight games of the 2011 season, but missed the 2012 season due to injury. He had a TD catch in this year's season opener versus Buffalo State.
Cortland will travel to St. John Fisher for a non-league game Saturday, Sept. 28, at 4 p.m., while William Paterson, which just completed a three-game road swing, will host Maritime College Saturday at 1 p.m.