The Monroe Mustangs football team was served a 31-7 dose of reality today by the Dean Bulldogs, the top team in the NEFC conference. The loss evens the Mustangs’ first-year record to 1-1. Monroe’s best moment in the game came at the beginning of the third quarter as freshman QB Manny Cortez took off from his own seven yerd-line and ran it 93 yards for a thrilling touchdown, pulling Monroe to a 13-7 score. But the Bulldogs’ size and experience was the difference the rest of the way and they talled 18 unanswered points, shattering any hopes the Mustangs had of what would have been a remarkable upset.
“Dean is the standard-bearer in our conference and they showed us why today,” said Coach Terry Karg. “We felt like we were in it early on and Manny’s run was a great moment, but we are a young program with a lot of growing and learning to do. Disappointed? Yes, somewhat. Discouraged? Not at all.”
Dean dominated on offense. Though they held a 265-205 yards rushing advantage over Monroe, their main statistical difference was in passing yardage. Monroe had 70 yards passing (10-18-2), but Dean racked up 150 yards in the air (10-17-1).
Cortez was Monroe’s best rusher of the day with 126 yards, 93 of which came on the TD run. Finding no one open, the versatile and creative Cortez tucked it under his arm, juked his way past the line, found a bit of daylight, then angled toward the right flag and crossed the goal line, untouched. It was his second TD run of the season. He had the first TD in Monroe history in the season-opening win over Wagner.
The task won’t get any easier for Monroe as they’ll play their home opener at SUNY Maritime’s Reinhart Field against the #2 conference team, the Nassau Lions next Saturday afternoon beginning at 12:00 p.m.