Defense saves victory vs. Mustangs

When his team needed him most, senior safety Shawn Brown stepped up. With Morrisville State College threatening to make a devastating comeback, Brown first picked up a fumble forced by teammate Nick Bricker and then picked off Morrisville State’s quarterback for a pick-six, propelling the College to a 28-14 victory on Saturday afternoon.

The College had taken a 14-0 lead into halftime, but when the Mustangs made a charge in the second half, it seemed like the Lions’ game could take a turn for the worse. With the Mustangs charging toward the end zone and the score at 14-7, Brown made the play that would change the course of the game.

Jay Donoghue ran for a big TD Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Lauren Del Turco)
“I was hot to No. 3, the three receiver on the opposite side of the field,” Brown said. “As soon as I cued him, I cued the running back’s eyes, and it took me right to the play. I snuck underneath it, and I was lucky enough to get an interception and get in there in time.”

That interception for a TD brought the score to 21-7, a deficit that Morrisville State would not be able to recover from. For Brown, plays like this are more a responsibility than an anomaly.

“A big play is a big play,” Brown said. “When you’re a playmaker, you have to do it all the time. You can’t be inconsistent, big game or not. As a defense, we like to call ourselves playmakers. We make things happen.”

While the second half belonged to the defense, the first half was all offense for the Lions. Senior quarterback Jay Donoghue ran for a score on a terrific fake to senior running back Joe Falco, and Falco himself ran in a score on an option play from Donoghue. To Falco, the team’s dominance came not just from himself, Donoghue or the other runners on the team, but from a complete team effort.

“It’s a lot of practice,” Falco said. “We work hard, and because of our tempo we are very fast-paced, so we’re all in great shape. The offensive linemen have been doing a great job. It’s been a dogfight up front. It takes a whole team for one play to be successful. It’s not just the guys carrying the ball, it’s everyone. It’s all 11 guys on the offense doing their job and doing their job well.”

Donoghue continued his dominance through the air and on the ground, with 161 yards passing and 66 yards rushing with a rushing TD. Falco rushed for 113 yards on the day, with his TD on the ground. Junior running back Nicholas Tyson also had a rushing TD, as well as 54 yards of his own on the ground.

The team’s depth at running back and quarterback in the ground game has led it to some big rushing days so far in the season.

“We just have a lot of weapons,” Falco said. “(Donoghue)’s great with the ball, Tyson’s a good runner. He’s a dog that’s going to go and get those yards. We’ve got a lot of guys that want to play hard, and everyone on the team wants to play hard, but whoever wants the ball, they’re going to try to get whatever they can get.”

While the game against Morrisville State almost felt like two separate games from one half to the next — with offense dominating the first half and defense dominating the second — for Brown, the whole thing is a big give-and-take.

“We just really buckled down,” Brown said. “We know the offense will do the same when they have to. So, we both hold our end of the deal, and we get the job done in the end. It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done.”

The team will face one of their toughest tests of this season on Friday, as they travel to Union, N.J. to face 12th-ranked-nationally Kean University.