JJ Laap (Stony Brook/Ward Melville) broke Cortland and Empire 8 records with 312 receiving yards, Zac Boyes (Buffalo/Kenmore West) set a school record with 543 passing yards, and Cortland set a school record with 681 yards of total offense as the nationally 16th-ranked Red Dragons opened the season with a 48-28 win over visiting Wittenberg University. Cortland’s 681 yards broke the previous school record of 662 yards set in a win at St. John Fisher in 1990.

Laap’s 312 yards broke the previous Empire 8 mark of 311 yards set by Jack Phelan of Hartwick in 2008 as well as the previous school mark of 267 yards by Frank Burm versus the University at Buffalo in the 1982 season opener. Burm was in attendance to witness his record being broken and posed for a photo with Laap after the contest.

Laap caught nine passes, including a 49-yard touchdown on Cortland’s second play from scrimmage and a 90-yard TD less than a minute into the third quarter, in addition to receptions of 51, 44, 35 and 20 yards. The 90-yard connection from Boyes to Laap is tied for the second-longest completion in school history.

Boyes completed 22-of-30 passes for 543 yards and four touchdowns in his first start as a Red Dragon. The team’s backup quarterback most of last fall, Boyes broke the previous school mark of 487 yards set by John Grassi at Buffalo State in 2014. In addition to his two TD passes to Laap, Boyes threw a 3-yard TD pass to Rashad Tucker (Freeport) in the second quarter and an 80-yard TD to Jaden Alfanostjohn (Westhampton/Westhampton Beach) for Cortland’s final score in the fourth quarter. On that play, Boyes avoided a sack before tossing a short pass to Alfanostjohn, who broke free down the left sideline and avoided tackles beyond midfield before racing to the end zone.

Alfanostjohn finished with 28 rushes for 82 yards and two touchdowns and four catches for 96 yards and a score. Cole Burgess (Greenwich) caught five passes for 110 yards and Mike Baloga (Cornwall/Marian Catholic (PA)) made 30-yard and 22-yard field goals in addition to all five of his PAT kicks.

Zack Thuesen (New Fairfield, CT) led Cortland’s defense with 18 tackles, the most by a Red Dragon since Cody Allen made 18 stops at Brockport in 2009. Nick Lardaro (Smithtown/Smithtown East), Joshua Cordero (Monroe/Monroe-Woodbury) and Ty Kolar (Sayville) each finished with seven tackles. Cordero also registered an interception and a pass breakup.

Wittenberg quarterback Collin Brown completed 18-of-28 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns – one each to Garrett Gross, Brysen Dykes and Tyler May. Gross led the Tigers with 38 rushing yards on 13 carries. Jake Saus caught six passes for 58 yards and ran for a score, Gross finished with five receptions, and Dykes caught three passes. Cameron Snurr finished with 13 tackles, Max Yost made nine stops and Tyler VanMeter intercepted a pass. Wittenberg finished with 356 yards of total offense.

The teams traded long TD passes in the game’s first six minutes – Laap’s 49-yard catch and a 48-yard grab by May. Cortland, however, scored the final 17 points of the half to lead 24-7 at intermission and extended the margin to 24 points on Laap’s 90-yard catch in the third. Laap made a leaping catch at midfield on that play, broke a tackle and ran untouched the rest of the way for the score. Cortland’s lead was at least 17 points the rest of the game.

Cortland will host The College of New Jersey in a non-league game next Saturday at noon.