September 27, 2014

King's Football - King's Post 36-29 Victory over Misericordia

Photo Courtesy of Albright Sports Information
WILKES-BARRE — The King's College football team amassed a season-high 388 yards of total offense and build a 15-point fourth-quarter lead before walking away with a 36-26 victory over visiting Misericordia University before a packed house of 3,489 fans on Homecoming Day at McCarthy Stadium.

With the win, King's posted its first victory of the season and stands at 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the Middle Atlantic Conference.  Misericordia, meanwhile, slipped to 1-3 and 1-2.  It marked King's third straight victory over the Cougars since the team began playing in 2012.

King's took the game's opening kickoff and matched 70 yards on 10 plays, using two key third-down scrambles by quarterback Tyler Hartranft that picked up drive-saving first-downs. Hartramfy would later find Dan Kempa with a 21 yard gain to the Cougar 18. Two plays later senior wide receiver took a handoff and scampered 12 yards into the end zone. Mikhail Kniaziewicz made good on the point after and the Monarchs led 7-0 with 9:51 left in the first quarter.

Misericordia answered and put together an 11-play, 72-yard drive, capped by a one-yard run by quarterback Jeff Puckett. The point-after, however, noun ed off the right post and the Monarchs held a 7-6 lead with 4:40 remaining in the opening period.

King's got the ball back used a 20-yard pass to tailback Kyke McGrath and a 17-yard run by Patrick Robinson to advance to the Cougar 13. McGrath would later rumble for a 12-yard touchdown run to extend the Monarch lead. On the extra-point Misericordia jumped off-side and the penalty moved the ball to the one-yard line. From there KIng's went for the two-point conversion and Robinson burst into the end zone to give King's a 15-6 lead with 0:50 to play in the first quarter.

Misericordia countered with a seven-play 57 yard drive that stalled at the King's eight. The Cougars then settled for a 25-yard field goal by Patrwick Newins to cut the King's lead to 15-9 with12:37 left in the half.

King's missed out on a chance to again extend the lead driving to the Cougar 10. But on a second-down play, Robinson fumbled and Misericordia recovered to end the King's scoring opportunity.

The Cougars would take advantage and mounted a 78-yard drive. But King's defense shut the door at the Monarch two and on fourth-and-goal, Misericordia kicked 19-yard field goal to trim the score to 15-12 with 0:53 left in the half.

It was there that King's registered what may have been the biggest play of the game. On the ensuing kickoff, the Monarchs ran a reverse and Dan Kempa took the handoff and raced 57 yards to the Cougar 28 but a Misericordia personal foul penalty on the play moved the ball to the 13. From there, King's ran thee plays to move to the Cougar three. On the next play Hartranft found tight end Jay Thomas all alone in the end zone for a critical score on the final play of the half. Kniaziewicz added the extra points kick and the Monarchs took a 22-12 lead into the half-time break.

Misericordia took the second half kickoff and put together a seven-play, 51-yard drive and found the end zone when Puckett scored from  on a nine-yard run to bring the Cougars to within 22-19.

But King's again responded and mounted a six-play 78-yard drive, culminating with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Hartranft to Kempa. The extra-point kick gave the Monarchs a 29-19 lead with 8:20 to go in the third quarter.  

Misericordia then answered with a 14-play, 75-yard drive but the Monarch defense again stiffened in the red zone and limited the Cougars to a 22-yard field goal to maintain a 29-22 advantage with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter.

King's once again immediately answered with an eight–play, 53-yard drive as Robinson eventually found the end zone on a three-yard carry. Kniaziewicz connected on his fourth extra-point kick of the day as the Monarchs stretched the led to 36-22 with 13;42 left in the contest.

After not punting the entire game, both teams would exchange punts on back-to-back possessions.

Later in the quarter, King's elected to go for it on fourth-and-one and not punt into the wind from its own 35-yard line. The Cougars defense held as Misericordia assumed possession at the King's 35 with 1:23 to play. KIng's defense forced a fourth-and-10 play from the Monarchs 22 but the Cougars came through with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Puckett to Juwan Petties-Jackson to cut the lead to 36-29 with 0:44 to play.

Misericordia would attempts an onsides kick but King's senior A.J. Hubiak recovered to seal the Monarch victory.

King's out gained the Cougars 388-340 in total yards. The Cougars held a 242-to-225 advantage in rushing yards while King's passed for 163 yards compared to 98 for Misericordia.

The Monarchs were balanced offensively as Robinson topped the team with 77 rushing yards with a touchdown on 16 carries while McGrath added 73 yards and one score on 14 attempts. Hartranft completed 9-of-14 passes for 163 yards with tow touchdowns and did not throw an interception.  Kempa had three catches for 73 yards with one receiving touchdown and one rushing touchdown. He also added 100 kick return yards on two returns.

Misericordia was led by Puckett who rushed for 130 yards on 30 carries and scored three touchdowns. He also completed 9-of-23 passes for 98 yards and one score.  Ray Custodio led the Cougar receivers with four catches for 44 yards.

Defensively, King's linebacker Bobby Russell posted double-digit tackles for the second straight week with 14 stops against Misericoria The sophomore standout had 16 tackles against Lycoming last week. Fellow inside linebacker Nick Kaijala added 11 tackles while Hassan Maxwell (9), Chris Matthews  (8), and James Burke (7) were also team leaders.

King's will play at home for the second straight week on Saturday when the Monarchs host 2013 MAC co-champion Lebanon Valley at 1:00 p.m. at McCarthy Stadium.