William Paterson snaps 22 game losing streak against Montclair State
You could see the elation not only on William Paterson Pioneers senior wide receiver Anthony DiMarsisco but coaches being hoisted into the air by players after the game against Montclair State at Wightman Stadium ended. 22 straight wins by the Red Hawks and memory of a 64-7 drubbing last year at home out the window as the Pioneers (2-2, 1-2, NJAC) hung on for an 18-13 victory on homecoming weekend.
“This is incredible and awesome, it’s history and what we did for Coach Flora who had had it rough and karma right now,” said DiMarsico. “We just executed and offensive line blocked their tail off today. A win is a win but this feels so good at the end of the day.”
“I don’t like to put a lot of stake into a victory, it’s been 20 years and in eight years had my chances,” Head Coach Jerry Flora said. “I gives these guys a lot of credit and have heart and proud to be their coach. What a week’s difference can make as losing last week gave us a chance to win this week. We made some mistakes and a bunch of corrections.”
“We focused on the little things today and that was critical in today’s game,” he continued. “All season long our players have played with grit. We gave up less than two scores with seven freshman starting today and a sophomore who is a captain.”
“Isaiah did a job starting today and having a sub in at running back today, injury upfront I was very impressed with our offensive line,” Flora explained. “We had one guy step in today and wasn’t supposed to play. Against Montclair State you have to be able to run the ball and if you don’t, no chance to win. Aqueel is a fantastic man and been in the backseat and behind a couple of other guys and waiting for a chance. Tyler is the real ace in the hole and always playing on the ball and rush guy and played a heck of a game.”
Trailing 6-0 after a 25-yard fumble recovery return by Montclair State linebacker Joshua Betts, the Pioneers offense started to click towards the end of the quarter with junior running back Aqueel Daniels-Lundy bursting straight ahead on a fourth and three at the Redhawks 29-yard line for a 16 yard gain. Daniels paced a potent running attack with 120 yards while the Pioneers amassed 226 total yards on the ground.
Early into the second quarter, junior quarterback Isaiah Diaz-Mays making his first start of the season lofted a fade pass into left corner of the end zone to DiMarsico, tying the game at 6-6. DiMarsico (6 catches, 104 yards) was not done, taking the pitch on a two-point conversion attempt and running it in successfully giving William Paterson an 8-6 advantage.
William Paterson’s defense hounded Montclair State freshman quarterback Ryan Adzima, sacking him seven times on the day with Tyler Gross leading the way with 12 tackles and 2 ½ sacks. Senior defensive back Pat Moran picked off Adzima pass returning it to the Red Hawks 47-yard line. It did not take long for the Pioneers to cash in on the turnover as Diaz-Mays hooked up with DiMarscio hitting him in stride down the middle of the seam for the score as William Paterson extended the lead to 15-6. Diaz-Mays totaled 188 yards with 59 on the ground and 129 through the air.
“What we did today is exactly what we have been doing all week long,” said Diaz-Mays. “We emphasized being prepared and both passes were just making my checks and reads and right play calling. The offensive line did an amazing job and receivers did a great job of catching the ball. We have all the alumni here and telling us how proud of us they are and last time we beat Montclair was back in the 90’s.”
“Isaiah coming through in the clutch situation and hasn’t started all year,” said DiMarsico. “Thrown in there because he had a great week of practice and did what he had to do and put the team on his back. Aqueel comes out of nowhere being our third-string running back.”
In the third quarter, William Paterson capitalized another miscue by Montclair State with junior defensive lineman Omar Mahmoud recovering a fumble by John Apicella on a punt return. With first and goal at the seven, the Pioneers were unable to punch the ball into the end zone leading to 25-yard field goal by Nick DeAngelis stretching the margin to 18-6.
The Red Hawks made things interesting late in the fourth quarter as Kyle Fanning coughed up the ball and Nick Vlope recovering the ball. Resorting to the hurry-up offense Adzima completed a 36-yard pass to Kyiese Lopez. On first and ten from the 11, Adzima connected on pass to Julanee Prince as Montclair State trimmed the deficit to 18-13.
“We were not in control at any part of the game and not playing well,” said Montclair State Head Coach Rick Giancola. “We had very little momentum and awful lot of mistakes and penalties. This game showed the youth of our team with some of the personal fouls. The kids were trying and playing hard but couldn’t muster any plays offensively and defensively they did a good job of blitzing us,”
Attempting an on-side kick, John DiStefano successfully recovered the ball at the Pioneers 45-yard line. Once again, the defense stepped up in the clutch forcing Adzima into making incomplete passes and coming up short on fourth down as William Paterson took over possession and ultimately ran out the clock.
Next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. the Pioneers face off against Frostburg State University at Bobcat Stadium in Frostburg, Maryland. Frostburg State defeated Kean this past weekend by a score of 25-18.
Sunil Sunder Raj
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