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Defense and special teams lead Montclair over No.19 Cortland, 16-7
Montclair, NJ - Marco Capozzoli booted three field goals of 36, 24, and 37 yards, and Dominique Dixon returned an interception for a 16-yard TD with 51 seconds left to top the No. 19 Cortland Red Dragons, 16-7, to remain undefeated in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. The Red Hawks led 9-0 over the Red Dragons with over seven minutes to play. Both defenses controlled most of the game, but Montclair punter Steve Layden made a difference with his non-chalant punting style that allowed him to start Cortland close to their own goal line on several occasions. The quick, low-scoring, non-televised game allowed us to see the entire game by 3:30 to travel 40 minutes away to see our favorite Guest Game Analyst over the years, Eric Koreivo, compete in his freshman game for Lenape Valley (NJ) High School prior to attending the same school's varsity game against the Chatham HS Cougars. Lenape Valley won both games. Both are 5-0.
Capazzoli's first FG came on his team's first possession which started at Cortland's 25 after a short punt and return. The second occurred after the Red Hawks recovered Dominique Sair's second period fumble at the Cortland 13 after starting a drive from the one thanks to a Layden punt. He converted his third with 24 seconds left in the half capping a 72-yard drive.
The Montclair band wearing civvies, entertained effectively from the stands during halftime. Little kids in the stands danced to the music to provide more impromptu entertainment. No scoring occurred in the third and Capozzoli missed his fourth attempt to start the fourth period.
Montclair's Gary Knoeppel stopped a Red Dragon drive at his 34, and with a 15-yard personal foul assessed, Montclair had the ball at their 49-yard line. They couldn't move the ball , however, and Layden's lazy punt put the Red dragons with their backs to the wall at their own three. As per the previous series, Hudson Woodward had taken over at QB for starter and captain Dan Pilcher. With the aid of a pass interference call on a fourth and fourteen at MSU's 40, Cortland finished their longest drive of the day with Dom Sair's one-yard TD run with 2:40 remaining in the game. CSU closed the gap to two, 9-7. Their ensuing onsides kick went four yards. To Montclair's credit, no one touched the ball and they took over at the CSU 34. To Cortland's credit, their defense held , and Montclair punted from the 35. Layden's punt place the Red Dragons on their seven. Head Coach Dan MacNeill replaced Hudson with 6' 8" freshman Rob Van Bargen. On a fourth and seven, Van Bargen's sideline pass was picked off by Dixon who took the short sprint down the sideline to close the scoring on the day.
The Red Hawks sit on top of the NJAC at 4-0 and 4-1 overall. Defending NJAC champ Cortland find itself at 3-2 in conference play and 3-2 overall. Montclair ended a five-game losing streak to the team from upstate New York and venture to Buffalo State next weekend. CSU hosts Western Connecticut in more NJAC action. We head off to Rutgers Friday night versus Pitt, and then head over to State College PA for the Penn State Homecoming against Minnesota.
Extra points: We're not complaining, but a Montclair ticket costs $1 more than a Princeton ticket, and a program costs that much more since PU programs are free.
The Montclair roster is filled with kids from typical towns in NJ - Bloomfield, Butler, Livingston, Old Bridge, etc. One home town though sticks out like a sore - Shahyad Meshkaty, a 6-2, 300-lb freshman OL, comes to jersey from Beverly Hills, California.. Culture shock? Welcome to Jersey!