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Morrisville State football drops heartbreaking 9-7 loss to Wilkes in season opener

MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Morrisville State College opened its 2012 season Saturday, posting a heartbreaking 9-7 loss to visiting Wilkes University in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) – New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) showdown on Drake Field in Morrisville.

With time winding down late in the fourth quarter, the Mustangs defense made a huge stop forcing a fourth down situation for Wilkes on Morrisville’s own one-yard line. Wilkes kicker Jordan Fredo (Williamsport, Pa.) sent the 18-yard field goal attempt into the hand of Mustang cornerback Rashon Johnson (Garnerville, N.Y.), that deflected up over the line and barely over cross bar for the Colonel win.

Wilkes outgained the Mustangs offensively posting 436-total yards, as quarterbacks Tyler Bernsten (Long Valley, N.J.) and Alex George (York, Pa.) combined for 287-yards on 25-of-41 completions, including five to wide receiver Andrew Regan (Boonton, N.J.) for 110-yards. George added 47-yards to his tallies in the running game.

Tate Moore-Jacobs (New Cumberland, N.J.) led the defensive unit with nine total tackles, recovering a fumble. Rob Houseknecht (South Williamsport, Pa.) added six, including a sack for a loss of six-yards, and recovered a costly Mustang fumble in the fourth quarter.

Morrisville State registered just 225-yards total offense throughout the day, with freshman quarterback Jory Tanner (Adams, N.Y.) completing 11-of-18 passes for 86-yards. Jaquan Cesar (Wappinger Falls, N.Y.) was the leader in the running game, netting 60-yards on eight attempts, while Tyler Dunworth (Poestenkill, N.Y.) added 52 yards on 12 carries, scoring the Mustangs lone touchdown early in the first. Dunworth also had seven punts, averaging 45.4 yards per kick in the contest.

Maurice Betton (Buffalo, N.Y.) had seven receptions for 57-yards to lead the receiving corp.

The Mustangs defensive unit didn’t allow the Colonels to reach the endzone, and had five players record 10 or more tackles on the afternoon, including freshman linebacker Tyler Meyers (Central Square, N.Y.) who posted a team high 13 on seven solo stops and six assisted tackles. Bryan Doyle (Syracuse, N.Y.) added 11, while Travis French (Newark Valley, N.Y.), Austin Erlwein (Jeffersonville, N.Y.) and Jack Glen (Syracuse, N.Y.) each tallied 10. Erlwein also picked off Bernsten for a 22-yard return.

Midway through the first quarter Morrisville State’s defense was able to pin Wilkes deep in their own territory and forced a punt that positioned the Mustangs ensuing drive on the Colonel 35-yard line. After two quarterback carries by Tanner down to the 23-yard line, Dunworth pounded the ball on three straight plays, reaching the endzone with 4:28 to go in the quarter. Zach Drake (Canastota, N.Y.) completed the extra point for the 7-0 Morrisville lead.

After a quick three-and-out by the Mustangs early in the second, Wilkes put together a 14-play, 57-yard drive that was capped off by a 29-yard field goal from Fredo to get on the board.

Fredo added three more points for the Colonels late in the third quarter to bring Wilkes within one heading into the final frame.

Midway through the fourth, Morrisville State made their way into Wilkes territory and ate away at the clock, but a costly fumble by Tanner gave the Colonels the ball back with 5:21 to go.

Starting on their own 25-yard line, Wilkes moved the ball down field, reaching the red zone with just under two minutes remaining in the contest. On third and goal, French made a huge stop for Morrisville State on the one-yard line, to force fourth and goal, but Fredo was able to get the kick through the goalposts for the 9-7 lead with 1:25 remaining.

Morrisville State made a final attempt in the closing minute of the contest, but Tanner was intercepted by Paul Gaffney (Sparta, N.J.) to end the Mustangs drive.

The Mustangs return to the field next Saturday, Sep. 8, traveling to Hartwick, before opening conference action on the 15th against Montclair State.

Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Community Service Honor Roll. Visit www.morrisville.edu to experience, Morrisville in motion