Cortland holds off Heidelberg, 30-28, in season opener

Jon Mannix caught five passes for 132 yards, including a 26-yard TD reception in the first quarter (Darl Zehr)

Jon Mannix caught five passes for 132 yards, including a 26-yard TD reception in the first quarter (Darl Zehr)

TIFFIN, OHIO – Steven Ferreira (West Sayville/Sayville) passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns and Cortland held off a late fourth-quarter charge by host Heidelberg University as the nationally 17th-ranked Red Dragons opened the season with a 30-28 non-league victory over the Student Princes.

Ferreira finished 21-of-35 through the air and also rushed for a net 47 yards and a touchdown on 18 attempts. Jon Mannix (East Northport/John H. Glenn) caught five passes for 132 yards and a touchdown and freshman Zach Tripodi (New Fairfield, CT) ran six times for 93 yards and a score. IN addition, Anthony Pintabona (Oceanside) grabbed four receptions for 60 yards.

Heidelberg quarterback Tyler Stoyle connected on 27-of-45 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown. Nick Delisa and Demetrius Magee each caught seven passes. Magee scored once and Delisa ended with 103 receiving yards. Bryan Lacey rushed 18 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns and Cameron Vocke ran three times for 36 yards and a score.

Linebacker Matt Goodman (Closter, NJ/Northern Valley Demarest) led Cortland with 12 tackles, 10 solo, and two pass breakups. Layton Lassiter (Madison, NJ) finished with seven tackles and a breakup, while Mark DelPrete (Staten Island/Monsignor Farrell) and freshman Ike Schannauer (West Lawn, PA/Wilson) made six tackles each. Three Heidelberg players finished with double-figure tackles. Trevor Summers led the Student Princes with 12 stops, a sack and a forced fumble. Austin Crow had 11 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and Jarett Wasson totaled 10 tackles.

Cortland jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the game's first 10 minutes. The Red Dragons were held on their first possession and Heidelberg started its first drive on Cortland's 37-yard line. Cortland held, however, and the hosts missed a 42-yard field goal. Cortland then drove 75 yards on just four plays, including a Mannix 63-yard catch, and Ferreira's 1-yard TD run put the Red Dragons up 7-0. Cortland drove 81 yards on 10 plays on its next possession, the final 26 on a Ferreira TD pass to Mannix.

Heidelberg scored on a Lacey 14-yard TD run on the final play of the first quarter to cut the deficit to 14-7. Cortland drove to the Heidelberg 4-yard line on its next series, but a fumble right at the goal line was recovered in the end zone by the Student Princes. Later in the second, Cortland took possession on its own 20-yard line with 5:15 remaining and methodically drove to the Heidelberg 2-yard line. A running play with 13 seconds left was halted at the 1, and another rush was also thwarted. Shane Cronin (West Nyack/Clarkstown South) made an 18-yard field goal at the horn on the drive's 16th play and Cortland led 17-7 at halftime.

The Red Dragons extended their lead to 23-7 on a 3-yard TD pass from Ferreira to tight end Josh Riley (Poughkeepsie/Spackenkill) on their first drive of the third quarter. The extra point was blocked by Malilk Dudley. Heidelberg then answered with a 4-play, 60-yard TD drive that was capped by a Lacey 5-yard run and Cortland's lead was 23-14.

Cortland again responded with a sustained scoring drive. The Red Dragons covered 72 yards on 11 plays, the final 26 on a Tripodi 24-yard rush and Tripodi again for a 2-yard score, and they took a 30-14 lead into the fourth quarter.

On the first play of the fourth, however, Stoyle threw a 22-yard TD pass to Magee to bring Heidelberg within 30-21. Cortland appeared to be on the verge of extending its lead when it drove to the Student Princes' 14-yard line, but Dom Scott intercepted a pass for Cortland's second red-zone turnover of the day. The hosts then mounted an 8-play, 93-yard drive that started quickly with a Tony Morris 24-yard catch and a Vocke 30-yard run. Vocke eventually finished things with a 2-yard TD run and Cortland's lead was reduced to 30-28 with 9:08 remaining.

The game's next three series resulted in punts, the last of which was a Cronin kick that was downed at the 1-yard line with 3:34 remaining. Cronin averaged 39.2 yards per punt on five attempts. Heidelberg drove to its own 48-yard line with less than 30 seconds left, but the Red Dragons held from there as the hosts lost a yard on first down and threw three straight incomplete passes.

Cortland outgained Heidelberg in total offense, 531-465, including a 239-150 edge on the ground. In addition to Tripodi's 93 rushing yards, Alex Wasserman (Closter, NJ/Northern Valley Demarest) gained 57 yards on 17 carries. The Red Dragons also converted on 9-of-18 third-down attempts and both of their fourth-down plays.

Cortland will host Framingham State next Saturday, Sept. 10, at noon in a non-league matchup. Both teams were league champions last season - Cortland in the Empire 8 and Framingham State in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference.