Nov. 29, 2008

 

Courtesy of Cortland St.

CORTLAND, N.Y. - Senior Ray Miles (Port Byron) completed 17-of-29 passes for 279 yards and four touchdowns as Cortland shut out Curry College, 42-0, in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament. The Red Dragons (11-1) will play in the national quarterfinals at top-ranked Mount Union College on Saturday, Dec. 6, at noon in Alliance, Ohio.

Miles tied his single-game high with the four touchdown passes and is now Cortland's career leader with 46 scoring passes. Senior Zacc Guaragno (Lansing) caught six passes for 127 yards and a touchdown and senior Eric Hajnos (Grand Island) made four catches for 67 yards and two scores. Senior Dave Murphy (Mohawk) also caught a touchdown pass, sophomore safety James Lenhart (Ticonderoga) returned a fumble six yards for a touchdown and sophomore Cory Russell (La Fayette) ran for a score.

Senior Richard Rolo (Yonkers/Gorton) led the Cortland defense with 10 tackles. Junior Bryan Wiley (Cape Vincent/Thousand Islands) had seven tackles and freshman D.J. Romano (Newburgh/Newburgh Free Academy) and sophomore Will Schroeder (Rockville Centre/Holy Trinity) each intercepted passes.

Cortland outgained Curry (10-2) 359-208 in total offense. Senior Ryan Van De Giesen (North Attleboro, MA/Bridgton Academy) completed 11-of-25 passes for 113 yards for the Colonels. Sophomore Jon Chattman (Woonsocket, RI) and freshman Norman Landry (Blackstone, MA/Bellingham) each caught three passes. Curry suffered its first shutout since a 33-0 loss at Nichols on Sept. 30, 2000.

Sophomore Jason Ryan (Rockingham, VT/Bridgton Academy) led Curry's defense with eight tackles and a pass breakup. Sophomore Jerome Freed (Marshfield, MA) recorded seven tackles, an interception and a pass breakup.

Junior Derrick Woodard (Whitesboro) returned a punt 43 yards to the Curry 15-yard line to set up the game's first touchdown, a 13-yard pass from Miles to Murphy two plays later with 8:08 left in the first quarter. The catch was Murphy's first collegiate touchdown. Curry's only trip into the "red zone" came on its next possession when the Colonels drove from their own 21-yard line to the Red Dragon 17-yard line, but a Matt Alksninis (Mansfield, MA) 35-yard field goal attempt missed wide left.

Cortland scored on its first possession of the second quarter when Miles hit Hajnos on a 19-yard post pattern for a touchdown. Woodard had a 60-yard punt return negated by an illegal block penalty the next time Cortland touched the ball, but on the second play of the ensuing drive Miles hit a wide open Guaragno for a 78-yard touchdown pass and a 21-0 Cortland lead with 8:07 left in the half.

The Red Dragons added to their lead on their first possession of the second half. Hajnos caught a pass on a crossing pattern on 3rd-and-8 from the Curry 27-yard line and went in for his second score of the game and his school record-tying ninth touchdown catch of the season.

Curry was forced to punt on its next possession, but a bad snap forced punter Alksninis to run. Anthony Giuliano (Thornwood/Westlake) hit Alksninis and forced a fumble that Lenhart scooped up and ran in from six yards out for his first collegiate touchdown. The score put the Red Dragons ahead 35-0 with 10:15 left in the third.

Cortland's final points came on a Russell 1-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter that capped a 7-play, 44-yard drive. Senior Jeffrey Lang (Dryden) added the extra point and extended his school record with 47 point-after kicks made. Lang has also set a new school single-season record for points scored by a kicker with 77.

Curry's best scoring chance of the second half came in the fourth quarter when the Colonels drove from their own 38-yard line to the Red Dragon 35-yard line. Romano, however, intercepted a Van De Giesen pass at the 10-yard line to end the threat.

Cortland is making its second-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III quarterfinals. The Red Dragons advanced to that round with one victory in 1988 in a 16-team tournament format. Cortland's 11 victories also ties the school single-season win record set during the 11-1 campaign in 1988.

Curry was making its sixth consecutive NCAA tournament showing. The Colonels advanced to the second round for the second straight year.