Balanced play leads Morrisville State football past Nichols 44-22  

Balanced play leads Morrisville State football past Nichols 44-22   


MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Visiting Nichols College had no answer for host Morrisville State College football Saturday afternoon, as the Mustangs utilized play on both sides of the ball to down the vising Bison by a 44-22 dominating final Saturday afternoon on Drake Field.

The win puts the Mustangs ahead 2-1 in their overall record, as they enter the final week of non-conference play next Saturday against Union College, before resuming Empire 8 action in October at Hartwick.

Morrisville State edged the Bison in total offensive yards, collecting 430 to Nichols 427 on the day. The Mustangs collected a net 266-yards in the running game, getting 153-yards off the quick foot of junior quarterback Brandon Gwinner (Schenectady, N.Y.). Gwinner also added 164-yards through the air, completing 11-of-14 passes for two touchdown scores.

Raffaele Bradshaw (Westbury, N.Y.) led the receiving unit for the Mustangs with 76 yards on three receptions, while teammate Petrit Boga (Bronx, N.Y.) pulled in two for 47 additional yards.

Morrisville State's defensive unit limited Nichols to just 87 yards net rushing on the day, and forced the Bison to turn over the ball three times, including two interceptions. Sophomore safety Michael Bodnar (Miller Place, N.Y.) led the unit with 13 total stops, eight solo, while collecting an interception.

Jarrod Faniel (Clyde, N.Y.) contributed 10 tackles, five solo, also registering three quarterback hurries and a sack for a loss of 12 yards. Rob Heitzmann (Oriskany, N.Y.) registered a collegiate best nine tackles in the win.

Tony Martignoli led the Nichols offensive efforts, completing 28-of-51 passes for 340 total yards and two touchdown scores, while adding a team best 49 net yards rushing.

Brett McEvoy led the Bison efforts with nine total tackles, with Princewell Iwejuo adding another eight.

Morrisville State came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, taking the early six point lead as Gwinner connected with Bradshaw who snagged the ball out of the air in a one-handed grab for the 55-yard passing score down the left line nearly two minutes in. Kinsey Williams (Holland Patent, N.Y.) converted the PAT for the 7-0 lead, getting the favorable bounce off the left goalpost.

Morrisville State quickly made it a 14-0 ball game as Martignoli threw a backward pass and safety Jose Garcia (New York, N.Y.) recovered the ball to walk 31-yards untouched into the end zone a mere two minutes into the contest.

Nichols responded late in the third with their first score of the day, completing the 78-yard, 18 play drive with a nine-yard scoring pass play from Martignoli to Jean Saint-Vil, before converting the 2-point PAT attempt on a pass from Scott Dargan to Colton Hudson.

Morrisville State threated to increase the lead late in the opening quarter, but the Nichols defense put up a wall at the goal line and forced the Mustangs to turn the ball over on downs on their own half yard line to end the first.

Minutes into the second, a 73-yard pass from Martignoli to Michael McCourt set up the longest Nichols drive of the afternoon, a 99-yard six play drive that was capped off by a 12 yard run from Jacob Duffrene for the 15-14 visitor lead.

That was short lived however, as Morrisville State went back on top as Gwinner connected with a wide open Joe Faniel (Clyde, N.Y.) on a 25-yard pass play in the end zone to regain the one score lead.

After a Nichols score to get back in front, Morrisville State headed into the locker room with the 28-22 advantage as Gwinner finished the 73-yard drive with an eight-yard scoring scamper.

Morrisville State's defense shut out Nichols in the second half, while racking up another score themselves to contribute to the win. After a five yard scoring run by Edmond for the 35-22 lead early in the third quarter, freshman corner Deondrade Wells (Goshen, N.Y.) picked off Martignoli and return the ball 55-yards for the second Mustang defensive score of the day, widening the gap to a 41-22 host lead.

Williams put the game away in the fourth, hitting a 26-yard field goal with four minutes remaining for the 44-22 non-conference win.

Morrisville State returns to the field Saturday, hosting Union College for the Mustangs "homecoming weekend" game. Kick-off is at 1 p.m. on Drake Field.

Morrisville State College's curricula are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology and has been lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs.

The college was ranked among the Best Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2018 issue and was also recognized in the Top Public Schools, Regional Colleges North in the 2018 Best Colleges rankings. For more information about Morrisville State College, visit