Courtesy of William Paterson Athletics
WAYNE, N.J. - The offense, defense and special teams all found the end zone as William Paterson (3-1, 2-1 NJAC) scored a dominating 35-0 Homecoming victory against Western Connecticut (0-4, 0-3 NJAC) Oct. 2 at Wightman Stadium.
The shutout was the first for the Pioneers since a 17-0 road win against Plymouth State during the 2005 season (Sept. 17). The Homecoming victory was the third in a row for William Paterson, thanks in part to a 379-145 advantage in total offensive yards, and gave WP its best start to a season since 1992 (5-0).
The Pioneersâ€™ five scores came in a variety of ways. The first two were one-yard carries by freshman Ray VanPeenen (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills), and the next a 10-yard completion from sophomore Ryan Gresik (Newton, N.J./Newton) to a wide-open Joseph Cordato (Bayonne, N.J./Bayonne). Senior Bret Cadena (Madison, N.J./Madison) scooped up a fumble and returned it 22 yards for a third-quarter touchdown, and junior Doug Dudek (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Hills) returned a punt blocked by senior Chris Thomas (West Milford, N.J./West Milford) for a 26-yard TD early in the fourth period to finish the scoring.
Gresik was 11-for-16 for 177 yards, a touchdown and an interception. VanPeenen finished with 45 yards on 23 carries, and freshman quarterback Dave Milne (Rutherford, N.J./Rutherford) had six rushes for 86 yards, including an 80-yard run for the Pioneersâ€™ longest play from scrimmage this fall. Cordato caught three passes for 47 yards and a score to lead seven different players with a reception against the Colonials.
Dudek led the Pioneer defense with 12 tackles (2.0 for loss) and a fumble recovery. Junior defensive back Stephen Bovo, Jr. (Dunellen, N.J./Dunellen) and junior linebacker Damian DiIorio (Totowa, N.J./Passaic Valley) each had six stops, and senior defensive lineman Dyon Moore (Brooklyn, N.Y./Hudson Catholic) had five. Sophomore safety German Decena (Union City, N.J./Emerson) added two pass breakups to his five tackles.
William Paterson moved the ball down the field on the first drive of the game, and was aided by a pass interference call on fourth-and-goal, giving the Pioneers a new set of downs. On fourth-and-one, VanPeenen stormed his way over the goal line, but the two-point pass attempt by holder Thomas to senior Derrik Rideg (Rochelle Park, N.J./Paramus Catholic) was unsuccessful, and WP enjoyed a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
WestConn seemingly lost the ball on a fumble to end its first possession, but Dudek was ruled to have recovered and then fumbled the ball himself, giving the Colonials the ball back with a fresh set of downs at the WP 24-yard line. Three play later Western Connecticut attempted a 41-yard field goal, but it was well short, giving the ball back to William Paterson.
Sophomore Chris Manfredo (Staten Island, N.J./Tottenville) turned a short completion into a 64-yard gain on third-and-10, and VanPeenen finished the seven-play, 76-yard drive with a one-yard leap over the pile and into the end zone. Pressured in the backfield, Gresik stepped up and found a streaking Cordato for the two-point conversion, making it a 14-0 score with 17.7 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The two teams traded interceptions to start the second period, as Keith Getz (North Plainfield, N.J./North Plainfield) picked off Gresik and ran 26 yards to the Pioneer-14 before sophomore Luigi Napolitano, Jr. (Morris Plains, N.J./Parsippany Hills) answered two plays later with an interception of Adler Florian (Stamford, Conn./Westhill), racing 55 yards up the left sideline before being pushed out at the WestConn 36-yard line.
William Paterson turned the ball over on downs, but the Pioneersâ€™ Thomas recovered a Florian fumble two plays later. WP then covered 34 yards in eight plays, the last 10 from Gresik to Cordato for an easy touchdown. Freshman Cory Mundt (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Hills) added the extra point to make it a 21-0 score with 7:27 on the clock.
After an A.J. Flores (West Orange, N.J./West Orange) kickoff rolled into the end zone for a touchback, senior Ansumana Kaba (Wilmington, Del./Christiana) forced a Tyler DeRosa (Miller Place, N.Y./Miller Place) fumble. Cadena alertly picked up the ball and scampered 22 yards into the WestConn end zone. Mundtâ€™s PAT ensured that the Pioneers entered the locker room with a 28-0 lead.
WP didnâ€™t just dominate the first half on the scoreboard. The Pioneers outgained the Colonials 204-71 overall, including a 152-0 edge through the air.
Neither team could get much going in the third quarter, but on the first play of the fourth, Thomas blocked a James Campbell (Oakdale, N.Y./Connetquot) punt. Dudek collected the bouncing football and covered the final 26 yards for William Patersonâ€™s fifth touchdown of the day with 14:11 to play. The Pioneersâ€™ back-ups took over from there, including the 80-yard quarterback keeper on Milneâ€™s second collegiate snap under center.
Florian was 0-for-8 passing while carrying 20 times for 41 yards. DeRosa gained 74 yards on 22 attempts for Western Connecticut.
Junior Greg Galasso (Brewster, N.Y./Brewster) led all tacklers with 14 stops (six solo, 1.5 TFL). Senior defensive back Cliff Rone (New Haven, Conn./Wilbur Cross) had seven tackles and a fumble recovery, while sophomore cornerback Tyrell Ballard (Bridgeport, Conn./Fairfield Prep) had six stops, and Getz posted five tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.
William Paterson will host Morrisville State Saturday, Oct. 9, at 1:00 p.m. WestConn will host Buffalo State Oct. 9 at 12:00 p.m.