Lions prevail against Pioneers in 21-13 win

The football team posted 21 straight second-half points to defeat William Paterson University 21-13.

With the win, the College improved to 5-1 overall on the season and 3-0 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).

The game started off bleak for the Lions as the Pioneers held them scoreless through the first half, going up 6-0 on a pair of field goals in the second quarter.

“We definitely didn’t bring our A-game in the first half,” senior defensive back Andrew Larkin said, “but it was encouraging that it was only a one-possession game.”

Larkin had two interceptions and six tackles, including four solo, for the Lions.

Senior defensive lineman Joe King, who had eight tackles on the day, including four solo and 3.5 for a loss, also believed the game was not over just yet.

“We’ve played from behind before,” King said. “It was about keeping our heads despite the first half not going the way we wanted.”

After halftime, the story changed. The No. 24 ranked Lions wasted no time in attempting a comeback as sophomore quarterback Chris James punched it in from one yard out. Combined with senior kicker Matt Dalessio’s extra point, the College took a 7-6 advantage.

Lightning struck twice as another one-yard touchdown was scored by sophomore running back Chase Misiura.

Later in the fourth quarter, the Lions crossed the plane again as James tossed a score to senior tight end Chris Opdyke from six yards out, making it a 21-6 affair.

The Lions had one incident on special teams when the Pioneers blocked a punt with under three minutes in regulation. After taking it back for the touchdown, William Paterson was within eight.

With 2:19 left in the game, the Pioneers attempted an onside kick to get the ball back in the hands of their offense. The College recovered the ball to end the game 21-13.

Despite a sense of accomplishment on the bench, the Lions continue to focus on the games ahead.

“Although it sounds cliché, we really take the season one game at a time, so all we’re concentrating on is (Western Connecticut University) next Saturday,” Larkin said. “I attribute our success to playing as a team. We have earned each and every win we’ve gotten because we’ve played as a team.”

King is proud of the way his team is playing this year.

“In previous years, you could see our inexperience when trying to close out games,” King said. “This year is different and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

The Lions are scheduled to host Western Connecticut at Homecoming on Saturday at 2 p.m.