William Paterson Rolls to 49-23 Homecoming Victory
WAYNE, N.J. – Senior quarterback Ryan Gresik (Newton, N.J./Newton) accounted for four touchdowns and senior defensive lineman Webb Geer (Sparta, N.J./Sparta) led three Pioneer defenders with double-digit tackles as William Paterson (2-2) rolled to a 49-23 Homecoming victory against Maritime (0-3) Sept. 28.
Gresik was 13-for-21 for 138 yards and two touchdowns through the air, adding a pair of rushing TDs. Geer made 11 stops (six solo), and senior linebacker David Zurla (Rutherford, N.J./Rutherford) and junior linebacker Robert Prince (Howell, N.J./Absegami) each contributed 10 tackles.
The Privateers received the opening kickoff, but when punter Duka Alvora couldn't handle the snap on fourth-and-two, WP's Pat Thomas (Lodi, N.J./Lodi) jumped on the loose ball and gave William Paterson a drive start at the Maritime-26.
A quick Pioneer touchdown was called back due to a penalty, but Gresik eventually found pay dirt from seven yards out, and junior Robert Sinegra (Wharton, N.J./Morris Knolls) punched through the extra point for a 7-0 edge 2:39 into the contest.
The two teams traded punts until Diogo Dietrich's 33-yard field goal put the Privateers on the scoreboard, cutting the lead to 7-3 with 10:24 remaining in the second quarter.
William Paterson answered right back with a nine-play, 64-yard scoring drive. Sophomore running back Matt Deiana (Somers, N.Y./Somers) ripped off 18-yard and 16-yard gains on the first two snaps, and Gresik scrambled for seven yards on a third-and-four from the Maritime nine-yard line. Sophomore running back Darius Kersey (Dover, N.J./Dover) finished the possession with a one-yard burst up the middle, handing WP a 14-3 lead with 7:45 on the clock.
Eleven straight runs culminated with the Privateers' Frank Laino finding the right pylon from 10 yards out (14-10, 1:17), again making it a four-point margin that would hold up until halftime.
The Pioneers were forced to punt to start the third quarter, but sophomore Tom Hennessy (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan) dropped Maritime's Greg Caneparo for a three-yard loss on fourth-and-four, giving WP excellent starting field position at the Privateer-33. Gresik again reached the end zone, this time on third-and-goal from the six-yard line, and WP surged ahead by a 21-10 count with 9:14 remaining in the third.
Maritime's longest run of the day came in the form of a 34-yard touchdown by quarterback Isaiah Covington. Junior linebacker Ben Allen (Ventnor, N.J./Atlantic City) blocked the PAT, but the Privateers had gotten back within five at 21-16 at the 5:26 mark.
A 15-yard facemask penalty helped to push the Pioneers to near midfield during their next possession, and Gresik immediately found a streaking Mick Paye (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley Regional) down the left sideline. Paye fully extended, just snaring the ball with his fingertips, and he managed to keep his feet inbounds as he tiptoed down the sideline for a 54-yard touchdown and a 28-16 advantage (4:58, third).
On third-and-nine from the Maritime 14-yard line, Gresik connected with crossing senior tight end Rich Vivian (West Long Branch, N.J./Shore Regional), who cut back up inside for his first career touchdown (35-16, 13:53, fourth).
The Pioneers really put the game away two plays later when junior defensive back Elijah DeGuzman (Pennsauken, N.J./Pennsauken) shot into the backfield and snatched a backwards toss by quarterback Ryan Heizman right out of the air, sprinting the 15 yards into the end zone and making it a 42-16 game with 13:46 remaining in the contest.
Heizman got the six points back with his four-yard run five minutes later (42-23, 8:49), but sophomore Dwaine Dabney (Summit, N.J./Summit) ripped off an 83-yard kickoff return, then picked up the final 10 yards on the ground over the next two plays, pushing the Pioneers ahead by a 49-23 count with 8:18 on the clock.
Paye gained 66 yards on three catches, scoring once, while Deiana rushed seven times for 60 yards. William Paterson dominated on the scoreboard, its best total since a 51-24 home win against Buffalo State (11/1/08), but had just 290 yards of total offense compared to Maritime's 308. The Privateers enjoyed a marked advantage in terms of time of possession (40:48 to 19:12), but the two teams combined for 23 penalties for 215 yards and WP won the turnover battle, 2-0.
Covington led the Privateers' rushers with 19 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown, as 303 of Maritime's 308 yards came on the ground. Junior linebacker Nick Coffiey had six tackles (four solo) to pace the Privateer defense.
William Paterson will host Morrisville State Saturday, Oct. 5, at 12:00 p.m. All children under 12 will be admitted for free as part of "Take a Kid to the Game Day."