ONEONTA, NY – Hartwick scored 52 points, generated nearly 400 yards of offense, earned three takeaways including a pick six, and returned a kickoff for a touchdown on Saturday in a 52-34 victory over visiting Morrisville State. The win evens up the Hawks' overall and Empire 8 records at 3-3 and 2-2. Morrisville drops to 2-3 and 0-2.
After Morrisville took the lead in the first quarter, Hartwick answered with 28 straight points to take control in the second. The Mustangs twice trimmed the gap to eight points in the second half and led 42-34 with less than 10 minutes to go in the contest, but Ronald Ballard (Deposit, NY/Deposit HS) broke free for a 64-yard touchdown run and Brian McGovern (Warwick, NY/Warwick Valley) made it a three-possession game with under two minutes to go with a 28-yard field goal to put the game away.
Ballard would rush for a career-high 156 yards on 22 carries. He also caught three passes for another 15 yards, one being a touchdown. Billy Pine (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls) connected on 14-of-27 passes for 235 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver Koree Reed (Baldwinsville, NY/Baldwinsville) made six catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns, including a 76-yard score in the second quarter.
Defensive back David Van Alstine (Otego, NY/Unatego Central) had two of Hartwick's three interceptions. He also recorded four kickoff returns for 143 yards, including one for an 89-yard touchdown.
After Morrisville scored to open the contest, a Ballard two-yard touchdown pass from Pine would even the score and McGovern's PAT gave the Hawks the lead to stay. Up 7-6 in the second quarter, Pine found tight end Syrano Edwards (Hilton, NY/Hilton) in the end zone for a nine-yard score. It would mark the first of five touchdowns between the two teams in a 4:31 span in the quarter.
Mark Hackett (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls HS) intercepted a Brandon Gwinner pass and returned it 39 yards for a pick six on the Mustangs' next possession. The Hawk defense then forced a Morrisville three and out and Pine hit Reed for a 76-yard touchdown reception and 'Wick was suddenly up 28-6.
Just 46 seconds later, Gwinner found Mitch Werenczak, who ran it all the way in for a 48-yard score to make it 28-13. The Hawks countered as Van Alstine registered his second kickoff return for a touchdown in his career 18 seconds after the Mustangs scored for a 35-13 contest.
Morrisville added to its total after a 9-play, 71-yard drive and Nick Edmond 8-yard touchdown run and the Mustangs trailed the Hawks 35-20 at the break.
In the second half, the visitors scored again to cut the deficit to eight, 35-27, but Pine hit Reed for a 28-yard touchdown to build the 'Wick lead back up. Later in the third quarter, Pine was picked off and the Mustangs had the ball on the Hartwick seven yard-line. Gwinner ran it in three plays later to make it 42-34.
Both offenses were forced to punt on their next possessions which took the game into the fourth quarter. After Morrisville punted with 9:36 left to play, Ballard took the Hawks' first play from scrimmage to the house on a 64-yard run.
The 'Wick defense came up with stops on the next two Mustang possessions before McGovern tacked on the game's final points. He finished the day perfect on all eight of his kicks.
The Hawks finished the day with 396 yards of offense. Morrisville accumulated 367. The Mustangs would run 78 plays in the game to Hartwick's 55.
Hackett led all players with 12 tackles, including a tackle for loss and the interception. Josh Wilcox (Ithaca, NY/Candor HS) added 10 tackles and one TFL. Corner Eugene Allen (Laurel, NY/Mattituck) contributed nine hits with Nick Richard (Greenwich, NY/Schuylerville) adding six.
Chris Goudy (Queensbury, NY/Queensbury) registered five tackles, a TFL, and he forced a fumble. Van Alstine had three tackles to go along with his two interceptions. Ethan Roy (Cromwell, CT/Cromwell) had three hits, including two sacks in the fourth quarter for the Hawks.
Hartwick remains at home next weekend when Hobart comes calling on Saturday, October 14. The Hawks and Statesmen get things started at 1 p.m. from Wright Stadium.