Courtesy of William Paterson Athletics
WAYNE, N.J. â€“ Junior Damian DiIorioâ€™s (Totowa, N.J./Passaic Valley) 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter allowed William Paterson (2-0) to open its home schedule with a 14-7 victory against Kingâ€™s (0-3) Sept. 18 at Wightman Stadium. The win allowed the Pioneers to start the season 2-0 for the first time since the 2007 campaign, and for the second time in 13 years (1998, 2-0).
Deadlocked at 7-7 since midway through the first period, the Monarchs were facing a third-and-eight from their own 45-yard with less than four minutes remaining in the contest. Senior quarterback Corey Lavin dropped back to pass, but the Pioneer defense pushed him laterally to his right, and the third-effort hit by junior defensive back Stephen Bovo, Jr. (Dunellen, N.J./Dunellen) jarred the ball loose from Lavin. DiIorio scooped the loose ball up and sprinted down the left sideline 35 yards for the go-ahead score. Freshman Cory Mundtâ€™s (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Hills) extra point gave William Paterson the 14-7 advantage with 3:16 to play.
During the ensuing possession, Kingâ€™s picked up a new set of downs on a 15-yard completion from Lavin to Jordan Haddock on third down, but a short run and two incompletes left the Monarchs with fourth-and-seven at their own 45. A false start backed the Monarchs up five more yards, and another incompletion turned the ball over to WP on downs with 1:37 on the clock.
Two Ray VanPeenen (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) carries and a pair of Kingâ€™s timeouts made it third-and-four at the Monarchsâ€™ 34-yard line with 1:26 to play, but VanPeenenâ€™s nine-yard carry was enough to advance the chains, and two kneel-downs ran out the remaining time.
Senior linebacker Jim Hamill (Stanhope, N.J./Lenape Valley Regional) led a stalwart defensive effort with nine tackles (five solo). Classmate Dyon Moore (Brooklyn, N.Y./Hudson Catholic) made seven stops (1.5 TFL, 1.0 sack). Junior Doug Dudek (Rockaway, N.J./Morris Hills), sophomore Andre Snead (Atlantic City, N.J./Atlantic City) and senior Dan Nunez (Hasbrouck Heights, N.J./Paramus Catholic) each contributed five tackles. Senior Chris Thomas (West Milford, N.J./West Milford) broke up two passes and classmate Leer Biddle (Sicklerville, N.J./Lenape) blocked a punt and defended a pass while making two solo stops.
Sophomore Ryan Gresik (Newton, N.J./Newton) was 17-for-28 for 181 yards and an interception, and had 17 rushes and a touchdown. VanPeenen carried 12 times for 65 yards, while sophomore Chris Manfredo (Staten Island, N.J./Tottenville) caught six passes for 90 yards.
After a three-and-out by the Kingâ€™s offense to start the game, William Paterson needed just three plays to cover 57 yards and score. Gresik broke through the line and scampered 38 yards, then found junior Joe Muraglia, Jr. (Belleville, N.J./Queen of Peace) for a 15-yard completion to make it first-and-goal from the four-yard line. Gresik called his own number again, this time running off the right tackle and through the Monarch defense to help give the Pioneers a 7-0 lead just 3:04 into the contest.
That advantage didnâ€™t last long, as Kingâ€™s answered immediately with a 12-play, 67-yard scoring drive of its own. Dan DiClementiâ€™s 13-yard gain on fourth-and-six at midfield kept the ball in the Monarchsâ€™ hands, and a later 15-yard completion and roughing the passer penalty against the Pioneers made it first-and-goal for Kingâ€™s at the 10-yard line. Lavinâ€™s third-down pass to Matt Spencer resulted in a four-yard touchdown at the front-right pylon, and the successful Ryan Cain PAT evened the contest at 7-7 with 6:26 remaining during the opening period.
Two punts were followed by a James McHugh interception of a Gresik pass at midfield to open the second quarter. The WP defense answered by forcing a three-and-out, but a Gresik fumble on second-and-goal spoiled the Pioneersâ€™ efforts to regain the advantage.
William Paterson received the second-half opening kickoff but was stymied on fourth-and-six on the Kingâ€™s 20-yard line. Another Monarch punt was followed by a catch and fumble by junior Matt Reggio (Commack, N.Y./Commack), but the Pioneer defense sacked Lavin on the next play, eventually forcing Kingâ€™s to punt three plays later.
Muragliaâ€™s fumble, the fourth William Paterson turnover of the game, handed Kingâ€™s the ball near midfield. Once again, the Pioneer defense held firm, forcing the sixth three-and-out of the day by the Monarch offense.
Despite earning first downs to start the fourth quarter, both teams were forced to punt the ball away. On their second drive of the final quarter, Kingâ€™s used a Pioneer penalty to move the yard sticks, and then a six-yard completion on second down for a first-and-10 at its own 43-yard line. A pass break-up by Dudek and a short two-yard completion made it third-and-eight for the Monarchs before the sack and fumble forced by Bovo that led to the winning WP touchdown.
William Paterson owned a 273-118 advantage in total offense, but was at a 4-1 disadvantage in the turnover margin.
Lavin was 14-for-26 for 72 yards and a touchdown under center. Brandon Murray was the Monarchsâ€™ leading rusher with eight carries for 18 yards. David Abdalla caught four passes for 13 yards, and Glenn Ford had three receptions for 14 yards. Ryan Cordingly paced the Kingâ€™s defense with 13 tackles (seven solo, 2.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks) and a fumble recovery. McHugh added nine stops and the interception, and Edwyn Edwards chipped in eight tackles and a fumble recovery.
William Paterson will return to action Saturday, Sept. 25, at Rowan at 1:00 p.m.