Cortland trounces Brockport for third straight Empire 8 Championship
By: Zachary Harnischfeger
Photo Credit: Brockport Athletics
CORTLAND, NY--- The Brockport Golden Eagles traveled to SUNY Cortland to take on the Red Dragons looking to capture the Empire 8 championship. The Red Dragons had other ideas as their defense forced six turnovers and only allowed 17 points in their 41-17 victory over Brockport to capture the Empire 8 Championship for the third consecutive season.
The Red Dragons struck first at 9:57 in the first quarter on an 8-yard rushing touchdown by quarter back Zac Boyes to cap off a 10-play, 70 yard drive and give Cortland the 7-0 lead. This was the first touchdown allowed by Brockport in 12 quarters.
The Golden Eagles started off their first possession strong after a 47 yard run by running back Jala Coad put them at the Cortland 23-yard line. But after a short run and two incompletions, Brockport was forced to settle for a 36-yard field goal by kicker Nate Wigent. This made it a 7-3 game.
At the 2:20 mark in the first quarter, Boyes found wide receiver Cole Burgess wide open for a 64-yard touchdown pass that extended the Red Dragon lead to 14-3.
To start the second quarter Brockport had the ball and was looking to get the offense going. On the third play of the drive, Brockport quarter back Ben Gocella was intercepted for the second time which gave Cortland the ball on the Brockport 17-yard line. The Golden Eagles defense held strong and only surrendered a field goal to the Red Dragons, making it 17-3.
At the 56 second mark in the second quarter, Boyes connected with Burgess on an 8-yard touchdown pass to cap off a 5-play, 54 yard drive and gave the Red Dragons a commanding 24-3 lead heading into the second half.
Cortland started off the second half with a bang, going 58 yards on five plays that ended with a Boyes touchdown pass, his third of the game, to wide receiver JJ Lapp for 22 yards to extend their lead to 31-3. At 10:57 in the third quarter, Boyes connected with Burgess on a 71-yard touchdown pass to make it a 38-3 game. Boyes ended with five total touchdowns in the game and Burgess finished with 245 yards and three touchdowns.
At the 6:47 mark in the third quarter, Brockport quarter back Chris McGuire connected with wide receiver Brian Caldwell Jr. on a 19-yard touchdown pass to give Brockport their first touchdown of the game. This made it 38-10.
Brian Caldwell Jr. (Photo Credit: Brockport Athletics)
"That is a play that through the week, we wanted to take a shot to him," McGuire said. "He is a great player and we saw the one-on-on coverage and it was something we wanted to take advantage of."
Brockport safety Kyle Haettich returned a muffed punt by Cole Burgess 27 yards for a touchdown with 8:29 left in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 38-17.
Cortland kicker Mike Baloga gave the Red Dragons a 41-17 lead with 1:58 left to go in the game on a 26-yard field goal. This was the final score of the game. The Red Dragons totaled 455 yards of offense which is the most Brockport has allowed all season.
"We have to stay positive," McGuire said. "We have to continue to play hard and remember what your playing this game for. This could be the last game for some of the seniors and we want to go out with a win."
With the loss the Golden Eagles drop to 7-2 overall and 4-1 in the conference. They will host the Alfred Saxons for senior day on Saturday Nov. 11th at Noon.