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Morrisville State falls 17-15 to William Paterson in October Nor'Easter

Release courtesy of William Paterson Sports Information

WAYNE, N.J. – William Paterson (3-5, 2-5 NJAC) overcame blizzard-like conditions, kicking a late field goal to defeat Morrisville State (1-7, 1-6 NJAC), 17-15, during a snowstorm Oct. 29 at Wightman Stadium.

Snow began falling prior to kickoff, obscuring the yardage lines and accumulating to several inches by halftime. The two teams agreed to 10-minute quarters during the second half, and a strong wind and heavier flurries began to reduce visibility as the game progressed. The Pioneers and Mustangs combined to go just 2-for-5 for 24 yards through the air. Instead, the two teams combined for 671 rushing yards on 94 attempts, many of those yards coming on big plays when defensive players could not wrap up due to the slippery conditions. Additionally, the two sides fumbled a total of 11 times, with three of those resulting in turnovers.

Morrisville State struck first when sophomore quarterback Lemar Johnson broke up the middle and scampered 79 yards for a touchdown. Juan Rios kicked the extra point, and the Mustangs owned a 7-0 lead with 6:02 on the clock in the first quarter. On WP's second play of its next possession, junior Dawys German (North Arlington, N.J./North Arlington) answered by somehow eluding tacklers at the line of scrimmage, keeping his feet moving and eventually bouncing outside and sprinting away from the defense for a 41-yard score. Freshman kicker Robert Sinegra (Wharton, N.J./Morris Knolls) converted the PAT, and the two teams were knotted at 7-7 at the 4:58 mark.

After forcing a punt, William Paterson found paydirt again, this time thanks to a 53-yard German run. Sinegra's extra point made it a 14-7 margin with 1:37 remaining in the first period.

The two teams traded fumbles during the second quarter, but neither side could turn them into points, and WP entered the locker room with the same seven-point lead.

Morrisville State took the lead again thanks to a 58-yard Austin Henchey run 13:08 into the second half. With conditions deteriorating, the Mustangs elected the go for two. WP nearly had Johnson tackled in the backfield, but he escaped and raced for the left pylon, crossing the goal line for a 15-14 advantage.

William Paterson answered right back, putting together a 14-play, 56-yard scoring drive. Freshman Isaac Jlaka (Philipsburg, N.J./Philipsburg) had a short fourth-down gain to move the yardsticks, and facing fourth-and-eight at the Mustangs' 31 yard line, fill-in quarterback Joe Muraglia, Jr. (Belleville, N.J./Queen of Peace) connected with sophomore Brian Winfield (Newton, N.J./Newton) for an 18-yard connection. Facing fourth-and-four inside the 10 yard line, the Pioneers sent out their field goal unit. Muraglia did well to get down a high snap, and Sinegra's kick was good into the driving wind and snow, a 23-yard kick that pushed William Paterson ahead by a 17-15 margin with 4:09 left.

The Pioneers defense was able to deny Johnson just shy of the marker on fourth-and-eight, and an eight-yard carry by Muraglia on fourth-and-six allowed WP to run out the remaining seconds.

German carried 11 times for 130 yards and two scores for William Paterson. Freshman running back Daryl Shuler (Peekskill, N.Y./White Plains) added 59 yards on 12 rushes, and Muraglia gained 44 yards on 14 attempts.

Senior linebacker Jim Hamill (Stanhope, N.J./Lenape Valley Regional) made 12 tackles (two solo, 1.0 for loss) and forced a fumble for the Pioneer defense. Senior defensive lineman Damian DiIorio (Totowa, N.J./Passaic Valley Regional) had 10 stops (two solo, 1.5 TFL), and senior bandit Doug Dudek (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Hills) posted nine tackles (five solo, 3.0 TFL).

Johnson carried 22 times for 175 yards and a score for Morrisville State. Henchey finished with 101 yards and a touchdown on six attempts.

Sophomore defensive back Austin Erlwein made 13 tackles (six solo) and recovered a fumble. Senior defensive end Dexter Galette had 10 stops (four solo, 1.0 TFL).