MORRISVILLE, N.Y. - Johnnie Akins (Roosevelt) ran for two touchdowns and D'monte Woody (Freeport) returned a blocked field goal 83 yards for a crucial score late in the third quarter as Cortland defeated host Morrisville State, 34-20, in an Empire 8 contest. Cortland improved to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in league play.
Akins finished with 17 carries for 86 yards, including a 44-yard scoring run in the second quarter that gave Cortland a 17-13 lead. Steven Ferreira (West Sayville/Sayville) completed 16-of-28 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown and ran for 39 yards, while Nick Anderson (Jacksonville, FL/Saratoga Springs (NY)) caught five passes for 71 yards and a score.
Mark DeLuise (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Valley) led Cortland's defense with 13 tackles, two for losses. Isaac Hicks (Staten Island/Curtis) and Kyle Richard (Lakeview/Malverne) each made nine stops, with Hicks also intercepting a pass. Cortland also blocked two kicks in the contest. Dan Appley (Herkimer) blocked an extra point in the first quarter for his fourth block of the season, and Travis Alvarez (Keyport) blocked the field goal that Woody returned for a touchdown.
Morrisville (2-5, 0-4 Empire 8) was led by Nick Edmond with 23 rushes for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Gwinner connected on 24-of-42 passes for 258 yards and also rushed for 55 yards and a score. Raffaele Bradshaw caught 13 passes for 143 yards and Joseph Faniel finished with eight receptions for 110 yards.
Cortland led 3-0 after its first drive. The Red Dragons drove inside the Morrisville 1-yard line before settling for a William Holscher (Commack) 18-yard field goal. Morrisville, however, responded with two first-quarter touchdowns on a Gwinner 10-yard run and a Edmond 2-yard carry and led 13-3 after one quarter.
Ferreira's 55-yard TD pass to Anderson on 3rd-and-4 early in the second quarter drew the Red Dragons within 13-10. The Mustangs fumbled the ball at the Cortland 12-yard line after a long drive on their next possession. After the teams traded punts, Cortland drove 75 yards for the go-ahead score, the final 44 coming on Akins' run.
Morrisville, which was held to only two scores on seven red-zone trips, moved to the Cortland 10-yard line before Hicks picked off a pass at the 1-yard line and returned the ball 35 yards to the Cortland 36. The Red Dragons eventually drove to the Morrisville 27-yard line and Nick Mongelli (Marlboro) made a 44-yard field goal on the final play of the half to give Cortland a 20-13 halftime lead. It was the first field goal attempt of the season for Mongelli, who was brought in for the kick due to its distance.
Cortland held Morrisville on downs on 4th-and-1 at the Red Dragon 16-yard line midway through the third quarter to maintain its lead. The Mustangs also missed a 28-yard field on their next possession. Late in the third, Morrisville advanced to the Cortland 13-yard line. After a rush for no gain and two incomplete passes, the Mustangs attempted a 30-yard field goal. Alvarez blocked the kick and Woody grabbed the ball at the 17 and ran 83 yards for a touchdown a 27-13 Cortland lead. It was Cortland's first blocked field goal return for a TD since Anthony Giuliano returned a block 82 yards versus William Paterson at home in 2010.
The hosts closed back to within seven when Edmond broke free for a 24-yard TD run on 4th-and-1. Cortland, however, answered with a 9-play, 68-yard drive. Holscher missed a 37-yard field goal, but Morrisville was flagged for a personal foul on the play to extend the drive. Two plays later, Akins ran in from three yards out to give Cortland a 34-20 lead.
Cortland won despite being outgained 502-335 in total offensive yardage, although each team averaged 5.6 yard per play from the line of scrimmage. Morrisville also possessed the ball for 36:39 to Cortland's 23:21 and held the Red Dragons to 2-of-12 success on third downs.
Cortland will travel to St. John Fisher for an Empire 8 game next Saturday at 2 p.m.