Cortland football romps Fitchburg State in home opener

Brett Segala takes a snap during Cortland’s win at Fitchburg State. He threw four TD passes and ran for a score (Photo by Eve Papa)

FITCHBURG, MASS. – Junior Brett Segala (Webster/Webster Schroeder) passed for 257 yards and four touchdowns on only 11 completions and also ran for a score as Cortland opened its 2018 season with a 51-14 non-league win at Fitchburg State in the first-ever meeting between the schools.

Cortland took a 21-0 lead after the first quarter on three Segala TD passes – a 40-yarder to Jake Smith (Guilderland) with 8:25 left, a 14-yard connection to Jason Carlock (Babylon) with 4:15 remaining, and a 67-yard toss to Alex Wasserman (Closter, NJ/Northern Valley Demarest) with 56 seconds left in the period. The teams were scoreless in the second quarter.

Segala’s 10-yard run less than two minutes into the third quarter pushed the lead to 28-0. Segala hit Nick Anderson (Saratoga Springs) for a 51-yard TD pass with 9:30 left in the third to give the Red Dragons a 35-0 advantage. Segala finished 11-of-18 for 257 yards with no interceptions.

Cortland extended its lead to 44-0 by the end of the third quarter on a Nick Mongelli (Marlboro) 32-yard field goal and a Zach Tripodi (New Fairfield, CT) 4-yard TD run.

Fitchburg broke up Cortland’s shutout bid on Sterlin Gavin’s 3-yard TD run with 13:42 left in the game. The score was set up by a 45-yard pass from Brandon Brown to Jesse Brown to the Cortland 3-yard line. Cortland freshman quarterback Tommy Heuer (Oceanside) played the fourth quarter and led the Red Dragons on their final scoring drive. He threw a 7-yard TD pass to Trevor Ash (Auburn) with 10:30 remaining and finished the game 5-of-6 passing for 77 yards.

Eleven different Cortland receivers combined to catch 16 passes for 334 yards and five scores. Anderson caught three passes for 80 yards and Smith had two grabs for 81 yards. Johnnie Akins (Roosevelt) led the Cortland ground attack with 17 carries for 74 yards, while Tai-sean Dodd (Wappingers Falls/Roy C. Ketcham) broke a late 44-yard run and finished with 52 yards on three attempts. Cortland finished the game with a 511-265 advantage in total offensive yardage, including a 334-84 margin through the air. The Red Dragons averaged nearly 21 yards per completed pass.

Cortland’s defense intercepted three passes, two of which came near or in the end zone to stop Fitchburg scoring attempts. Mark DeLuise (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Valley) intercepted a pass at the 1-yard line on 4th-and-goal from the 3 midway through the second quarter, and D’monte Woody(Freeport) picked off a pass in the end zone with less than 20 seconds remaining before halftime. Denarii Beard (Willingboro, NJ/William Penn Charter (PA)) intercepted a pass in the third quarter. Kyle Richard (Lakeview/Malverne) led the Red Dragons with eight tackles and Beard made seven stops.

Garvin led the Falcons with 97 yards on 21 carries and Brandon Brown gained 70 yards on 12 attempts and completed 7-of-20 passes for 84 yards. Jesse Brown caught four passes for 56 yards. Jovon White registered seven tackles and Caleb Gonsalves and Richard Austin made six stops apiece for the hosts.

Cortland freshman punter Liam Casey (Woodstown, NJ) averaged 41.7 yards per punt on three attempts. Mongelli was 6-of-7 on PAT kicks in addition to his field goal.

The Red Dragons will host Framingham State next Saturday, Sept. 8, at noon.